The following are just a few of the aspects we evaluated on all 100 top-scoring apps:
General features included information about the app, such as the last revision, patient privacy, and if the app displayed paid advertisements. This domain recorded if an app was available on multiple platforms, if the app provides photos of the pills to be taken, and if the app was free or would cost the user money.
Adherence related features focused on what types of reminders the app used and if they became progressive with missed doses or if they could be “snoozed” when a medication could not be taken at the time of the reminder. Other features in the domain included if the app tracked all doses, taken and missed; if it could remind or order refills; and if users could customize the reminders.
This domain was specific to how the apps generated reminders. For instance, some apps use cellular service to deliver reminders (if a patient were to lose service or have it disconnected, he or she would no longer receive reminders); whereas, other apps use the integrated calendar or clock feature to generate reminders. Other noted features included if an app had secure cloud storage of a patient’s medication regimen and if an app could export data to a patient or caregiver about either their regimen or their level of adherence.
The health literacy domain focused on how easy the app was to set up, use, read, and understand. Was the app written in plain language? Was it easy to navigate? Were important components and functions included near the center of the screen? Did the app use medical terms or non-layman jargon, most of which people do not understand?