Appl Clin Inform 2017; 08(04): 1068-1081
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2017-07-R-0116
Review Article
Schattauer GmbH Stuttgart

Patient Self-Management of Asthma Using Mobile Health Applications: A Systematic Review of the Functionalities and Effects

Mehrdad Farzandipour
Ehsan Nabovati
Reihane Sharif
Marzieh Heidarzadeh Arani
Shima Anvari
Further Information

Publication History

08 July 2017

16 September 2017

Publication Date:
14 December 2017 (online)


Objective The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the evidence regarding the effects of mobile health applications (mHealth apps) for self-management outcomes in patients with asthma and to assess the functionalities of effective interventions.

Methods We systematically searched Medline, Scopus, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. We included English-language studies that evaluated the effects of smartphone or tablet computer apps on self-management outcomes in asthmatic patients. The characteristics of these studies, effects of interventions, and features of mHealth apps were extracted.

Results A total of 10 studies met all the inclusion criteria. Outcomes that were assessed in the included studies were categorized into three groups (clinical, patient-reported, and economic). mHealth apps improved asthma control (five studies) and lung function (two studies) from the clinical outcomes. From the patient-reported outcomes, quality of life (three studies) was statistically significantly improved, while there was no significant impact on self-efficacy scores (two studies). Effects on economic outcomes were equivocal, so that the number of visits (in two studies) and admission and hospitalization-relevant outcomes (in one study) statistically significantly improved; and in four other studies, these outcomes did not improve significantly. mHealth apps features were categorized into seven categories (inform, instruct, record, display, guide, remind/alert, and communicate). Eight of the 10 mHealth apps included more than one functionality. Nearly all interventions had the functionality of recording user-entered data and half of them had the functionality of providing educational information and reminders to patients.

Conclusion Multifunctional mHealth apps have good potential in the control of asthma and in improving the quality of life in such patients compared with traditional interventions. Further studies are needed to identify the effectiveness of these interventions on outcomes related to medication adherence and costs.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

Human and/or animal subjects were not included in the study.


This study was supported by a grant from Kashan University of Medical Sciences Research Council (number: 9606).