Review and Analysis of Existing Mobile Phone Apps to Support Heart Failure Symptom Monitoring & Self-Care Management

A team of health researchers from Columbia University conducted a review of commercially available health apps catering to the management of heart failure. Thirty-four apps were independently evaluated by 2 to 4 reviewers using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS), the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality scores, and Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) guidelines for nonpharmacologic management.

Self Care Catalysts’ own Heart Failure Health Storylines obtained the highest score for behavioural change. Scoring high on functionality, Heart Failure Health Storylines showcases the ability to sync with a wide variety of health trackers, share data and communicate data collection through the “circles of support” feature. As one of the top 5 ranking apps for symptom monitoring and self-care management of heart failure patients, Heart Failure Health Storylines shined in its ability to provide patients with options that catered to the specific needs of their condition.

Apps must continue to undergo clinical testing to demonstrate their efficacy and potential in clinical practices, assuring confidence in privacy and security for both patient and health care provider. Patients and providers who are currently using apps to target and change heart failure behaviours are still early adopters. mHealth apps require rigorous assessment to win the broad support of healthcare providers who can disseminate these apps to the mainstream patient population. Reviews such as this are important in identifying high performing apps and making them visible to the broader clinical community.