Features of a Mobile Support App for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Literature Review and Current Applications

Drishty Sobnath, Nada Philip, Reem Kayyali, Shereen Nabhani-Gebara, Barbara Pierscionek, Anouk W Vaes, Martijn A Spruit, Evangelos Kaimakamis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious long-term lung disease in which the airflow from the lungs is progressively reduced. By 2030, COPD will become the third cause of mortality and seventh cause of morbidity worldwide. With advances in technology and mobile communications, significant progress in the mobile health (mHealth) sector has been recently observed. Mobile phones with app capabilities (smartphones) are now considered as potential media for the self-management of certain types of diseases such as asthma, cancer, COPD, or cardiovascular diseases. While many mobile apps for patients with COPD are currently found on the market, there is little published material on the effectiveness of most of them, their features, and their adoption in health care settings.

    The aim of this study was to search the literature for current systems related to COPD and identify any missing links and studies that were carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of COPD mobile apps. In addition, we reviewed existing mHealth apps from different stores in order to identify features that can be considered in the initial design of a COPD support tool to improve health care services and patient outcomes.

    In total, 206 articles related to COPD management systems were identified from different databases. Irrelevant materials and duplicates were excluded. Of those, 38 articles were reviewed to extract important features. We identified 214 apps from online stores. Following exclusion of irrelevant apps, 48 were selected and 20 of them were downloaded to review some of their common features.

    Our review found that out of the 20 apps downloaded, 13 (65%, 13/20) had an education section, 5 (25%, 5/20) consisted of medication and guidelines, 6 (30%, 6/20) included a calendar or diary and other features such as reminders or symptom tracking. There was little published material on the effectiveness of the identified COPD apps. Features such as (1) a social networking tool; (2) personalized education; (3) feedback; (4) e-coaching; and (5) psychological motivation to enhance behavioral change were found to be missing in many of the downloaded apps.

    This paper summarizes the features of a COPD patient-support mobile app that can be taken into consideration for the initial design of an integrated care system to encourage the self-management of their condition at home.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere17
    JournalJMIR Mhealth Uhealth (JMU)
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2017


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