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Consumer Perspectives on Maternal and Infant Health Apps: Qualitative Content Analysis.

Biviji R, Williams KS, Vest JR, Dixon BE, Cullen T, Harle CA. Consumer Perspectives on Maternal and Infant Health Apps: Qualitative Content Analysis. Journal of medical Internet research. 2021 Sep 1; 23(9):e27403.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Despite the popularity of maternal and infant health mobile apps, ongoing consumer engagement and sustained app use remain barriers. Few studies have examined user experiences or perceived benefits of maternal and infant health app use from consumer perspectives. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess users'' self-reported experiences with maternal and infant health apps, perceived benefits, and general feedback by analyzing publicly available user reviews on two popular app stores-Apple App Store and Google Play Store. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative assessment of publicly available user reviews (N = 2422) sampled from 75 maternal and infant health apps designed to provide health education or decision-making support to pregnant women or parents and caregivers of infants. The reviews were coded and analyzed using a general inductive qualitative content analysis approach. RESULTS: The three major themes included the following: app functionality, where users discussed app features and functions; technical aspects, where users talked about technology-based aspects of an app; and app content, where users specifically focused on the app content and the information it provides. The six minor themes included the following: patterns of use, where users highlighted the frequency and type of use; social support, where users talked about receiving social support from friends, family and community of other users; app cost, where users talked about the cost of an app within the context of being cost-effective or a potential waste of money; app comparisons, where users compared one app with others available in app stores; assistance in health care, where users specifically highlighted the role of an app in offering clinical assistance; and customer care support, where users specifically talked about their interaction with the app customer care support team. CONCLUSIONS: Users generally tend to value apps that are of low cost and preferably free, with high-quality content, superior features, enhanced technical aspects, and user-friendly interfaces. Users also find app developer responsiveness to be integral, as it offers them an opportunity to engage in the app development and delivery process. These findings may be beneficial for app developers in designing better apps, as no best practice guidelines currently exist for the app environment.





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