Background Traumatic brain injury (TBI) carries a high morbidity and mortality. It has been suggested that the practice of providing healthcare support via mobile technologies i.e. mobile health (mHealth) can considerably alleviate the global burden of TBI. However, the current landscape of mHealth and the evidence surrounding their use in TBI has not been defined and critically appraised.
Methods We systematically reviewed the mobile app markets (iOS and Android) and the literature for TBI-focused apps and studies investigating the use of mHealth in TBI. We extracted and analysed data from the apps and studies that met our inclusion criteria. Results are reported as median (interquartile range). Full study methodology is available from PROSPERO (CRD42018107386).
Results 53 apps met our inclusion criteria. The top three functions were TBI screening (34.0%), education (28.3%) and biomechanics monitoring (20.8%). Median number of downloads was 300(75–3000). 8 studies met our inclusion criteria. Most (62.5%) were either case series or case report with only one (12.5%) randomised controlled trial. Median number of TBI patients involved in the study was 7(1–43).
Conclusion There is a disproportionately small number of TBI-focused apps. Their uptake is limited and the evidence surrounding the use of mHealth in TBI particularly remains low at present.
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