Journal of Medical Systems

, 39:1 | Cite as

Empirical Studies on Usability of mHealth Apps: A Systematic Literature Review

  • Belén Cruz ZapataEmail author
  • José Luis Fernández-Alemán
  • Ali Idri
  • Ambrosio Toval
Mobile Systems
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mobile Systems


The release of smartphones and tablets, which offer more advanced communication and computing capabilities, has led to the strong emergence of mHealth on the market. mHealth systems are being used to improve patients’ lives and their health, in addition to facilitating communication between doctors and patients. Researchers are now proposing mHealth applications for many health conditions such as dementia, autism, dysarthria, Parkinson’s disease, and so on. Usability becomes a key factor in the adoption of these applications, which are often used by people who have problems when using mobile devices and who have a limited experience of technology. The aim of this paper is to investigate the empirical usability evaluation processes described in a total of 22 selected studies related to mHealth applications by means of a Systematic Literature Review. Our results show that the empirical evaluation methods employed as regards usability could be improved by the adoption of automated mechanisms. The evaluation processes should also be revised to combine more than one method. This paper will help researchers and developers to create more usable applications. Our study demonstrates the importance of adapting health applications to users’ need.


Usability Empirical Mobile Applications mHealth Systematic literature review 



This research is part of the PEGASO-PANGEA projects (TIN2009-13718-C02-02) financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Spain), and the GEODAS-REQ project (TIN2012-37493-C03-02) financed by both the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and European FEDER funds. This research is also financed by the Erasmus Mundus EU-Mare Nostrum programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belén Cruz Zapata
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Luis Fernández-Alemán
    • 1
  • Ali Idri
    • 2
  • Ambrosio Toval
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer ScienceUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Software Project Management Research Team, ENSIASMohammed V Souissi UniversityRabatMorocco

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