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Title: Medication management support in diabetes : a systematic assessment of diabetes self-management apps
Authors: Huang, Zhilian
Lum, Elaine
Jimenez, Geronimo
Semwal, Monika
Sloot, Peter
Car, Josip
Keywords: Health Apps
Digital Health
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Huang, Z., Lum, E., Jimenez, G., Semwal, M., Sloot, P., & Car, J. (2019). Medication management support in diabetes: a systematic assessment of diabetes self-management apps. BMC Medicine, 17(1), 127-. doi:10.1186/s12916-019-1362-1
Series/Report no.: BMC Medicine
Abstract: Background: Smartphone apps are becoming increasingly popular for supporting diabetes self-management. A key aspect of diabetes self-management is appropriate medication-taking. This study aims to systematically assess and characterise the medication management features in diabetes self-management apps and their congruence with best-practice evidence-based criteria. Methods: The Google Play and Apple app stores were searched in June 2018 using diabetes-related terms in the English language. Apps with both medication and blood glucose management features were downloaded and evaluated against assessment criteria derived from international medication management and diabetes guidelines. Results:Our search yielded 3369 Android and 1799 iOS potentially relevant apps; of which, 143 apps (81 Android, 62 iOS) met inclusion criteria and were downloaded and assessed. Over half 58.0% (83/143) of the apps had a medication reminder feature; 16.8% (24/143) had a feature to review medication adherence; 39.9% (57/143) allowed entry of medication-taking instructions; 5.6% (8/143) provided information about medication; and 4.2% (6/143) displayed motivational messages to encourage medication-taking. Only two apps prompted users on the use of complementary medicine. Issues such as limited medication logging capacity, faulty reminder features, unclear medication adherence assessment, and visually distracting excessive advertising were observed during app assessments. Conclusions: A large proportion of diabetes self-management apps lacked features for enhancing medication adherence and safety. More emphasis should be given to the design of medication management features in diabetes apps to improve their alignment to evidence-based best practice.
DOI: 10.1186/s12916-019-1362-1
Rights: © 2019 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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