Mobile health applications (apps) have the potential to assist people with chronic diseases to learn about, monitor, and manage their conditions, but they are mostly unexplored, with the state and direction of development unknown. Researchers conducted a comprehensive assessment of publicly accessible applications aimed towards people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), characterized their present characteristics, and identified unmet needs. They searched the iTunes and Google Play App Stores for the phrase “arthritis,” and then read the app descriptions for explicit references to RA. Applications that matched the eligibility requirements were downloaded and examined. They evaluated each program for four features: basic characteristics, content source, functionality, and security, using a set of quality metrics defined in the literature research. Each feature’s frequency was recorded, and percentages were computed.

In December 2016, twenty applications aimed towards RA sufferers were found. Fifty percent of the applications (n = 10) simply provided symptom monitoring. Five (20%) gave simply RA information, whereas 5 (20%) engaged patients by giving both symptom tracking and educational content. Fewer than half of the applications offered a way to contact health care providers or connect to an online community, and just 6 (30%) offered user security protection.

The majority of current RA applications do not give a holistic experience for those living with RA. Implementing smartphone-accessible features and safe means of preserving individual health information are two areas for improvement.