Nurses’ roles in mhealth app development: Scoping review




Bakker, Caitlin J.
Wyatt, Tami H.
Breth, Melissa CS.
Gao, Grace
Janeway, Lisa M.
Lee, Mikyoung A.
Martin, Christie L.
Tiase, Victoria L.

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Background: Although mobile health (mHealth) apps for both health consumers and health care providers are increasingly common, their implementation is frequently unsuccessful when there is a misalignment between the needs of the user and the app’s functionality. Nurses are well positioned to help address this challenge. However, nurses’ engagement in mHealth app development remains unclear.

Objective: This scoping review aims to determine the extent of the evidence of the role of nurses in app development, delineate developmental phases in which nurses are involved, and to characterize the type of mHealth apps nurses are involved in developing.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review following the 6-stage methodology. We searched 14 databases to identify publications on the role of nurses in mHealth app development and hand searched the reference lists of relevant publications. Two independent researchers performed all screening and data extraction, and a third reviewer resolved any discrepancies. Data were synthesized and grouped by the Software Development Life Cycle phase, and the app functionality was described using the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics functionality scoring system.

Results: The screening process resulted in 157 publications being included in our analysis. Nurses were involved in mHealth app development across all stages of the Software Development Life Cycle but most frequently participated in design and prototyping, requirements gathering, and testing. Nurses most often played the role of evaluators, followed by subject matter experts. Nurses infrequently participated in software development or planning, and participation as patient advocates, research experts, or nurse informaticists was rare.

Conclusions: Although nurses were represented throughout the preimplementation development process, nurses’ involvement was concentrated in specific phases and roles.



Mobile health, mHealth, Mobile app, Product development, Software design, Scoping, Search strategy, Nursing, Health app, Mobile app, Nurse, Nursing, Allied health, Development, Design, Software, Scoping literature review, Scoping review, Sensor, Wearable, Software development, Mobile phone


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Bakker, C. J., Wyatt, T. H., Breth, M. C., Gao, G., Janeway, L. M., Lee, M. A., Martin, C. L., & Tiase, V. L. (2023). Nurses’ roles in mhealth app development: Scoping review. JMIR Nursing, 6. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.