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Stephanie Kletke, Sourabh Arora, Feisal Adatia; Educational and vision-assistive smartphone Apps for patients: a quantitative evaluation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):5322. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To identify and quantitatively evaluate high quality patient educational and vision assistive Apps.
Webstores of major smartphone platforms, including iPhone (App Store) and Android (Market) were searched to identify vision assistive and educational Apps targeting patients. Quantitative evaluation was performed using the Quality Component Scoring system (QCS), which assessed for: ownership, purpose, authorship, author qualification, attribution, interactivity, and currency (maximum score of 13). For vision assistive Apps, usability parameter assessment included: interface design, ease of use/user feedback, navigation, terminology, and low vision accessibility (maximum score of 10). The Technical Component Score System (TCS) was used for educational Apps only (maximum score of 16). Average user ratings, App cost, and links to other resources were also considered.
Thirty-four (23 vision assistive, 11 educational) smartphone Apps were included for analysis. Amongst all Apps’ QCS, the mean attribution score (indicating use of references) was the lowest (0.15+/-0.4), while the currency score (indicating dates of latest updates are listed) was the highest (1.7+/-0.5, p<0.001). For assistive Apps, the mean usability total was 6.4+/- 1.7, and the combined QCS and usability total was 17.6+/- 2.9 (maximum possible score = 23). Patient-appropriate terminology scored the highest (2.0) and low-vision accessibility scored the lowest (0.78+/-0.52, p<0.001). Number of ratings for an App was significantly correlated with its usability score (Spearman’s rho=0.513, p=0.012) and combined total score (Spearman’s rho=0.422, p=0.045). Amongst educational Apps, the mean TCS total was 8.1+/- 5.3 and the combined QCS and TCS total was 18.6+/- 7.4 (maximum possible score = 29). The most common learning methods were text-based (82%) and video/audio-based (18%). The TCS scores were significantly higher for text-based Apps (9.3+/-5.1) compared to video/audio-based (2.5+/-0.7, p=0.004).
This study has provided a list of patient educational and vision assistive Apps, ranked by order of quality and categorized by their purpose/learning method. This will allow patients to access Apps most suited to their needs, and physicians to make recommendations.
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