Mobile Applications to Support Multiple Sclerosis Communities: The Post-COVID-19 Scenario.

Publication date: Mar 07, 2024

Introduction: The increase in the use of mobile apps since the COVID-19 pandemic, even among people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and health care providers (HCPs), has enabled access to reliable information, symptoms monitoring and management, and social connections. The pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to the acceleration of the “digital revolution. ” But how far has it progressed for the MS communities? Methods: Italian Google Play and App Store were queried, selecting MS-specific apps in English or Italian language and usable by a wide public. Results: Fifty-four (nā€‰=ā€‰54) MS-specific apps were identified; most were PwMS-oriented (83%), free of charge (94%), and in English language (76%). The 45 PwMS-oriented apps focused on increasing MS knowledge (71%), tracking symptoms (33%), and promoting networking with peers or HCPs (38%). The 13 HCPs-oriented tools addressed education and updates on MS (62%), disease assessment and management (54%), and research (15%). Google Search tool was also queried to find non-MS-specific apps to fulfill some unmet domains (as sleep, pain, sexual or mental health). Twenty-four additional apps were listed to provide a valuable contribution. Conclusion: The “digital revolution” led to increasingly customized tools for PwMS, especially as m-health or social-networking apps. However, apps to support other specific MS-relevant domains, appealing HCPs-oriented apps, and specific mobile tools for MS caregivers are still lacking. The absence of data assessing the usability and quality of MS apps in ecologically contexts leads to not reliable conclusions about potential benefits. A strong dialogue between MS communities and the digital industry is encouraged to fill this gap.

Concepts Keywords
Caregivers COVID-19
Google m-health
Italian mobile applications
Reliable multiple sclerosis
Sclerosis telemedicine

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH Multiple Sclerosis
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO quality
disease VO Gap

Original Article

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