Document Type


Publication Date



This article is the author’s final published version in JMIR Diabetes, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2022, Article number e33264.

The published version is available at Copyright © Shariful Islam et al.


Background: Diabetes is one of the leading noncommunicable chronic diseases globally. In people with diabetes, blood glucose levels need to be monitored regularly and managed adequately through healthy lifestyles and medications. However, various factors contribute to poor medication adherence. Smartphone apps can improve medication adherence in people with diabetes, but it is not clear which app features are most beneficial.

Objective: This study aims to systematically review and evaluate high-quality apps for diabetes medication adherence, which are freely available to the public in Android and Apple app stores and present the technical features of the apps.

Methods: We systematically searched Apple App Store and Google Play for apps that assist in diabetes medication adherence, using predefined selection criteria. We assessed apps using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) and calculated the mean app-specific score (MASS) by taking the average of app-specific scores on 6 dimensions, namely, awareness, knowledge, attitudes, intention to change, help-seeking, and behavior change rated on a 5-point scale (1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree). We used the mean of the app's performance on these 6 dimensions to calculate the MASS. Apps that achieved a total MASS mean quality score greater than 4 out of 5 were considered to be of high quality in our study. We formulated a task-technology fit matrix to evaluate the apps for diabetes medication adherence.

Results: We identified 8 high-quality apps (MASS score≥4) and presented the findings under 3 main categories: characteristics of the included apps, app features, and diabetes medication adherence. Our framework to evaluate smartphone apps in promoting diabetes medication adherence considered physiological factors influencing diabetes and app features. On evaluation, we observed that 25% of the apps promoted high adherence and another 25% of the apps promoted moderate adherence. Finally, we found that 50% of the apps provided low adherence to diabetes medication.

Conclusions: Our findings show that almost half of the high-quality apps publicly available for free did not achieve high to moderate medication adherence. Our framework could have positive implications for the future design and development of apps for patients with diabetes. Additionally, apps need to be evaluated using a standardized framework, and only those promoting higher medication adherence should be prescribed for better health outcomes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

PubMed ID