Development of a Rating Tool for Mobile Cancer Apps: Information Analysis and Formal and Content-Related Evaluation of Selected Cancer Apps

Abstract

Mobile apps are offered in large numbers and have different qualities. The aim of this article was to develop a rating tool based on formal and content-related criteria for the assessment of cancer apps and to test its applicability on apps. After a thorough analysis of the literature, we developed a specific rating tool for cancer apps based on the MARS (mobile app rating system) and a rating tool for cancer websites. This instrument was applied to apps freely available in stores and focusing on some cancer topic. Ten apps were rated on the basis of 22 criteria. Sixty percent of the apps (6/10) were rated poor and insufficient. The rating by different scientists was homogenous. The good apps had reliable sources were regularly updated and had a concrete intent/purpose in their app description. In contrast, the apps that were rated poor had no distinction of scientific content and advertisement. In some cases, there was no imprint to identify the provider. As apps of poor quality can give misinformation and lead to wrong treatment decisions, efforts have to be made to increase usage of high-quality apps. Certification would help cancer patients to identify reliable apps, yet acceptance of a certification system must be backed up.

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Correspondence to Jutta Hübner.

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Böhme, C., von Osthoff, M.B., Frey, K. et al. Development of a Rating Tool for Mobile Cancer Apps: Information Analysis and Formal and Content-Related Evaluation of Selected Cancer Apps. J Canc Educ 34, 105–110 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-017-1273-9

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Keywords

  • Mobile apps
  • Application
  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Rating tool