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Gamification for Diabetes Type 1 Management: A Review of the Features of Free Apps in Google Play and App Stores

Authors Alsalman D, Bu Ali ZM, Alnosaier ZF, Alotaibi NA, Alanzi TM

Received 13 February 2020

Accepted for publication 19 April 2020

Published 14 May 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 425—432


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Demah Alsalman, Zahra M Bu Ali, Zainab F Alnosaier, Norah A Alotaibi, Turki M Alanzi

Health Information Management and Technology Department, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Turki M Alanzi
Health Information Management and Technology Department, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, King Faisal Road, Dammam 31441, Saudi Arabia
Tel/ Fax +966 133332703
Email [email protected]

Purpose: The objective of this study was to review most of the existing free m-Health applications (Apps) that use the gamification approach to manage diabetes type 1 in both App and Google Play stores.
Methods: Free mobile health applications “apps” that were related to diabetes mellitus have been identified in both App and Google Play stores. In order to cover all the mentioned applications, the following keywords, “game for type 1 diabetes” and “gamification for type 1 diabetes” were used in English and Arabic languages. All applications that were collected in the inclusion process were carefully analyzed, and the game name, game description, game features, game mechanics, game themes, and operating systems were recorded.
Results: A total of eight gamified applications related to type 1 diabetes were identified. Seven of these applications were in English language and only one application was in Arabic language. The applications were categorized into three main categories based on the theme of the application. The categories were taking care of a character, quizzes, and the storytelling theme. Moreover, there was no application that included the social networking feature.
Conclusion: This study highlighted the most important features of the free mobile health applications “apps” for diabetes type 1 available in Google Play and App stores that can contribute to enhance the self-management of the diabetes condition by patients in Saudi Arabia. The identified applications have important characteristics that can be used in the future for the care and self-control of type 1 diabetic patients in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: gamification, diabetes type 1, applications, Google Play store, App store, mobile health, m-Health, mobile health applications, digital health

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