Heart failure (HF) is a chronic disease that affects over 1% of Canadians and at least 26 million people worldwide. With the continued rise in disease prevalence and an aging population, HF-related costs are expected to create a significant economic burden. Many mobile health (mHealth) apps have been developed to help support patients’ self-care in the home setting, but it is unclear if they are suited to the needs or capabilities of older adults.
This study aimed to identify HF apps and evaluate whether they met the criteria for optimal HF self-care.
We conducted a systematic search of all apps available exclusively for HF self-care across Google Play and the App Store. We then evaluated the apps according to a list of 25 major functions pivotal to promoting HF self-care for older adults.
A total of 74 apps for HF self-care were identified, but only 21 apps were listed as being both HF and self-care specific. None of the apps had all 25 of the listed features for an adequate HF self-care app, and only 41% (31/74) apps had the key weight management feature present. HF Storylines received the highest functionality score (18/25, 72%).
Our findings suggest that currently available apps are not adequate for use by older adults with HF. This highlights the need for mHealth apps to refine their development process so that user needs and capabilities are identified during the design stage to ensure the usability of the app.