The Effectiveness Of Health Apps Essay

Introduction

Internet has become part of our everyday lives, we us, we use for communication, to do transactions, get recent issues on the world. Every domain has a. There has been a corresponding increase to the number of people using the internet to get health related information (Neubeck et al. 2016).In addition to using the internet to seek medical information , people have adopted the use of health applications (apps) to manage(Cho 2016) the lifestyles (Cho 2016).Before a call actioned by the US Medical institute, health apps have mostly been used by health professionals to manage the clinical health of patients. Recently consumers have shown an interest in consumer health apps which has contributed a rapid adoption of health (Baldwin et al. 2017).

In a recent report done in 2017, it is estimated that there are over 325000 health apps in major app stores, and over 40 000 are mobile health (mhealth) apps have being used every day. However there is little research on how best to design the apps on how you can make the them usable and easy to use(Schnall et al. 2016). The interface plays an important role as it mediates the interaction between users and information displayed which can then influence how a user feels about the app being used (Neubeck et al. 2016). These study focuses different aspects that make a good interface of mhealth apps and issues with regards to mobile health apps.

As stated above there has been a rapid increase in the adoption of health apps amongst people or consumers (Cho 2016). People are leaning towards using mhealth apps because of how portable these apps are and how easy information is accessible (Paglialonga, Lugo and Santoro 2018).Many people manage their own health by using a diverse range of smartphone apps(Cho 2016). A recent survey showed that among apps users or patients, 66 % patients favour using informative mhealth apps , followed by 52 % use it for apps to access healthcare services and 52 % use it for apps on maintaining a healthy lifestyle (Paglialonga, Lugo and Santoro 2018).

In a study conducted by (Sousa and Almeida 2016) they identified five factors or dimensions that affect health apps which are visual(aesthetics of the app), informative architecture which is how the information is presented, the interaction which describes how users navigate around the healthcare systems, social presence and user experience. The findings of that paper suggested that the most influential factors in the information architecture and user experience followed by interaction. (Baldwin et al. 2017) also supports the findings of this study by claiming that patients do not consider the app useful if the information displayed is difficult to understand. In recent study patients or mhealth users abandoned using the apps after two weeks and it shows that it was because of frustration with the design on interface and how difficult it is to navigate(Baldwin et al. 2017).

According to Nielson when users view app, they see the content of the interface according to the task proposed to them. So if the content is complex the app is considered difficult to use by the user. (Cho 2016) different elements that make up usability in health and mhelath apps, these elements are confirmation, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, satisfaction and intent to continue using app. A user perceives the app as useful when he/she is able to achieve a certain goal, example if the app efficiently manages a health condition user will find that app useful(Cho 2016), furthermore depending on how easy it is to use the app, the user develops some emotions which are most likely satisfaction or dissatisfaction. From the results of (Cho 2016) study it is established that satisfaction of is highly related ease of use, not only that it also determines how likely the user is most likely to continue using the app.

There exists some similarity within the elements identified by (Cho 2016) and (Sousa and Almeida 2016) that affect the functionality of the mhealth apps. Fitbit and IPhone 6’s built in health apps are considered more easy to use and intuitive, consumers also requires little effort to use login which covers almost all elements identified in both studies. Another point to be noted with the Fitbit and IPhone 6 is that it requires little effort to use it, this helps achieve better usability and user experience therefore it is important to reduce extraneous task load (Partala and Saari 2015).

One study also identified that some mHealth apps tend to more downloaded because of peer reviews they and how well they were rated by their users but not on how usable they are. However this can be overcome by using accredited rating platforms which assess apps based on a number of features like engagement, functionality, aesthetics and information. Another serious issue with Most health apps have been developed to address a specific medical condition meaning there are lots of apps out there. This leads to users being concerned with app overload and have difficulty in keeping up with the different apps for different diseases.(Paglialonga, Lugo and Santoro 2018)

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