Publications by authors named "Sofia Ouhbi"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Investigating the Impact of Usability on Energy Efficiency of Web-based Personal Health Records.

J Med Syst 2021 May 6;45(6):65. Epub 2021 May 6.

Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.

Usability plays an important role in eHealth applications for their widespread adoption. These software systems have been studied in depth in the literature from this perspective. However, the energy consumption of information systems in the eHealth domain lacks comprehensive research. In this paper, the relationship between the energy consumption of the main components of a PC and the usability evaluations of graphical user interfaces (GUI) were studied in client applications. For this purpose, personal health records (PHR) were used as a case study. A set of 4 web-based PHRs were evaluated with the performance of 20 common tasks in the aforementioned systems. The usability evaluations were carried out by 4 experts. A total of 8 heuristics particularly designed for electronic health record systems and based on the Nielsen usability heuristics were employed. The instantaneous energy values of the power supply and the monitor were collected with an energy consumption measuring equipment. As a result, the following significant correlations were found. In NoMoreClipboard between the Memory heuristic and the power supply (r = 0.495, p = 0.044), and the Minimalist heuristic and the monitor (r = - 0.513, p = 0.035). In PatientsLikeMe between the Minimalist heuristic and the power supply (r = - 0.479, p = 0.083), as well as in the Error heuristic and the power supply (r = - 0.638, p = 0.014). Finally, in Health Companion between the Match heuristic and the power supply (r = - 0.481, p = 0.043), and the Error heuristic and the power supply again (r = - 0.602, p = 0.008). Apart from that, the tasks were divided into those with excellent and fair usability. Those tasks with high usability scores were evaluated to detect whether they also had low energy consumption during task performance. Significant differences were found in PatientsLikeMe with respect to the Error heuristic and the power supply (212.39 ± 18.85W). Significant differences were also found in Health Companion with respect to the Match heuristic and the power supply (199.91 ± 7.19W). The results were discussed to reveal the fundamentals of how implementing usability can impact on energy costs when running client applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10916-021-01725-8DOI Listing
May 2021

End-to-End AI-Based Point-of-Care Diagnosis System for Classifying Respiratory Illnesses and Early Detection of COVID-19: A Theoretical Framework.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 31;8:585578. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Key Laboratory of Complex System Control Theory and Application, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin, China.

Respiratory symptoms can be caused by different underlying conditions, and are often caused by viral infections, such as Influenza-like illnesses or other emerging viruses like the Coronavirus. These respiratory viruses, often, have common symptoms: coughing, high temperature, congested nose, and difficulty breathing. However, early diagnosis of the type of the virus, can be crucial, especially in cases, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the factors that contributed to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic were the late diagnosis or misinterpretation of COVID-19 symptoms as regular flu-like symptoms. Research has shown that one of the possible differentiators of the underlying causes of different respiratory diseases could be the cough sound, which comes in different types and forms. A reliable lab-free tool for early and accurate diagnosis, which can differentiate between different respiratory diseases is therefore very much needed, particularly during the current pandemic. This concept paper discusses a medical hypothesis of an end-to-end portable system that can record data from patients with symptoms, including coughs (voluntary or involuntary) and translate them into health data for diagnosis, and with the aid of machine learning, classify them into different respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. With the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease everywhere today, and against similar diseases in the future, our proposed low cost and user-friendly theoretical solution could play an important part in the early diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.585578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8044874PMC
March 2021

Biofeedback-Based Connected Mental Health Interventions for Anxiety: Systematic Literature Review.

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2021 Apr 22;9(4):e26038. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering, College of Information Technology, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Background: Connected mental health, which refers to the use of technology for mental health care and technology-based therapeutic solutions, has become an established field of research. Biofeedback is one of the approaches used in connected mental health solutions, which is mainly based on the analysis of physiological indicators for the assessment and management of the psychological state. Biofeedback is recommended by many therapists and has been used for conditions including depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Anxiety is associated with several physiological symptoms, including muscle tension and breathing issues, which makes the inclusion of biofeedback useful for anxiety detection and management.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify interventions using biofeedback as a part of their process for anxiety management and investigate their perceived effectiveness.

Methods: A systematic literature review of publications presenting empirically evaluated biofeedback-based interventions for anxiety was conducted. The systematic literature review was based on publications retrieved from IEEE Digital Library, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Scopus. A preliminary selection of papers was identified, examined, and filtered to include only relevant publications. Studies in the final selection were classified and analyzed to extract the modalities of use of biofeedback in the identified interventions, the types of physiological data that were collected and analyzed and the sensors used to collect them. Processes and outcomes of the empirical evaluations were also extracted.

Results: After final selection, 13 publications presenting different interventions were investigated. The interventions addressed either primarily anxiety disorders or anxiety associated with health issues such as migraine, Parkinson disease, and rheumatology. Solutions combined biofeedback with other techniques including virtual reality, music therapy, games, and relaxation practices and used different sensors including cardiovascular belts, wrist sensors, or stretch sensors to collect physiological data such as heart rate, respiration indicators, and movement information. The interventions targeted different cohorts including children, students, and patients. Overall, outcomes from the empirical evaluations yielded positive results and emphasized the effectiveness of connected mental health solutions using biofeedback for anxiety; however, certain unfavorable outcomes, such as interventions not having an effect on anxiety and patients' preferring traditional therapy, were reported in studies addressing patients with specific physical health issues.

Conclusions: The use of biofeedback in connected mental health interventions for the treatment and management of anxiety allows better screening and understanding of both psychological and physiological patient information, as well as of the association between the two. The inclusion of biofeedback could improve the outcome of interventions and boost their effectiveness; however, when used with patients suffering from certain physical health issues, suitability investigations are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/26038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8103295PMC
April 2021

A Study on the Relationship between Usability of GUIs and Power Consumption of a PC: The Case of PHRs.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 02 3;18(4). Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Computer Science and Systems, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain.

Usability is key to achieve quality in software products. The client applications with a high score in usability might impact on the power consumption when they are run in a PC. For this reason, energy savings turn to be critical in green software systems. In this paper the relationship between the usability evaluations of the GUIs and the power consumption measurements of the main components of a PC were analysed. A set of 5 web-based personal health records (PHRs) were selected as a case study. The usability assessment was performed by an expert, employing the 14 principles of design by Alan Dix as heuristics. They were scored on a Likert scale after performing a collection of common tasks in the PHRs. At the same time, an equipment to measure the energy consumption of hard disk drive, graphics card, processor, monitor and power supply was used. Spearman's index was studied for the correlations between the usability assessments and the power consumption measurements. As a results, some weak relationships were found. A total of 5 usability heuristics were observed to may influence energy consumption when they were considered in the implementation of the PHRs. These heuristics were the following ones: consistency, task migratability, observability, recoverability and responsiveness. Based on the results, the usability principles of design cannot always be related to lower energy consumption. Future research should focus on the tradeoffs between usability and power consumption of client applications when they are used in a computer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913159PMC
February 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on the psychological health of university students in Spain and their attitudes toward Mobile mental health solutions.

Int J Med Inform 2021 03 31;147:104369. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had an impact on several aspects of life, including university students' mental health. Mobile mental care applications (apps) comprise a form of online mental care that enables the delivery of remote mental care.

Objectives: This study aimed to explore the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of university students in Spain and to explore their attitudes toward the use of mobile mental care apps.

Method: Respondents answered a survey, which comprised two sections. The first included the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) that was employed to assess the students' mental health. The second section included six questions developed by the authors to explore the students' attitudes toward mental care apps.

Results: The results showed that the students suffered from anxiety and depression as well as social dysfunction. Further, 91.3 % of the students had never used a mobile app for mental health, 36.3 % were unaware of such apps, and 79.2 % were willing to use them in the future.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the psychological health of university students. Mobile mental care apps may be an effective and efficient way to access mental care, particularly during a pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2020.104369DOI Listing
March 2021

Investigating the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Psychological Health of University Students and Their Attitudes Toward Mobile Mental Health Solutions: Two-Part Questionnaire Study.

JMIR Form Res 2020 Oct 20;4(10):e19876. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Background: The COVID-19 outbreak was first reported to the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019, and it was officially declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak and the safety measures taken to control it caused many psychological issues in populations worldwide, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

Objective: The objectives of this study were to assess the psychological effects of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak on university students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to investigate the students' awareness of mobile mental health care apps as well as their attitudes toward the use of these apps.

Methods: A two-part self-administered web-based questionnaire was delivered to students at United Arab Emirates University. The first part of the questionnaire assessed the mental state of the participants using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), while the second part contained questions investigating the participants' awareness of and attitudes toward mental health care apps. Students were invited to fill out the web-based questionnaire via social media and mailing lists.

Results: A total of 154 students participated in the survey, and the majority were female. The results of the GHQ-12 analysis showed that the students were experiencing psychological issues related to depression and anxiety as well as social dysfunction. The results also revealed a lack of awareness of mental health care apps and uncertainty regarding the use of such apps. Approximately one-third of the participants (44/154, 28.6%) suggested preferred functionalities and characteristics of mobile mental health care apps, such as affordable price, simple design, ease of use, web-based therapy, communication with others experiencing the same issues, and tracking of mental status.

Conclusions: Like many groups of people worldwide, university students in the UAE were psychologically affected by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Although apps can be useful tools for mental health care delivery, especially in circumstances such as those produced by the outbreak, the students in this study showed a lack of awareness of these apps and mixed attitudes toward them. Improving the digital health literacy of university students in the UAE by increasing their awareness of mental health care apps and the treatment methods and benefits of the apps, as well as involving students in the app creation process, may encourage students to use these tools for mental health care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/19876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609193PMC
October 2020

Connected Mental Health: Systematic Mapping Study.

J Med Internet Res 2020 08 28;22(8):e19950. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

TICLab, International University of Rabat, Rabat, Morocco.

Background: Although mental health issues constitute an increasing global burden affecting a large number of people, the mental health care industry is still facing several care delivery barriers such as stigma, education, and cost. Connected mental health (CMH), which refers to the use of information and communication technologies in mental health care, can assist in overcoming these barriers.

Objective: The aim of this systematic mapping study is to provide an overview and a structured understanding of CMH literature available in the Scopus database.

Methods: A total of 289 selected publications were analyzed based on 8 classification criteria: publication year, publication source, research type, contribution type, empirical type, mental health issues, targeted cohort groups, and countries where the empirically evaluated studies were conducted.

Results: The results showed that there was an increasing interest in CMH publications; journals were the main publication channels of the selected papers; exploratory research was the dominant research type; advantages and challenges of the use of technology for mental health care were the most investigated subjects; most of the selected studies had not been evaluated empirically; depression and anxiety were the most addressed mental disorders; young people were the most targeted cohort groups in the selected publications; and Australia, followed by the United States, was the country where most empirically evaluated studies were conducted.

Conclusions: CMH is a promising research field to present novel approaches to assist in the management, treatment, and diagnosis of mental health issues that can help overcome existing mental health care delivery barriers. Future research should be shifted toward providing evidence-based studies to examine the effectiveness of CMH solutions and identify related issues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/19950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7486675PMC
August 2020

An analysis on self-management and treatment-related functionality and characteristics of highly rated anxiety apps.

Int J Med Inform 2020 09 30;141:104243. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

TICLab, International University of Rabat, Rabat, Morocco. Electronic address:

Background And Objective: Anxiety is a common emotion that people often feel in certain situations. But when the feeling of anxiety is persistent and interferes with a person's day to day life then this may likely be an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a common issue worldwide and can fall under general anxiety, panic attacks, and social anxiety among others. They can be disabling and can impact all aspects of an individual's life, including work, education, and personal relationships. It is important that people with anxiety receive appropriate care, which in some cases may prove difficult due to mental health care delivery barriers such as cost, stigma, or distance from mental health services. A potential solution to this could be mobile mental health applications. These can serve as effective and promising tools to assist in the management of anxiety and to overcome some of the aforementioned barriers. The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of treatment and management-related functionality and characteristics of high-rated mobile applications (apps) for anxiety, which are available for Android and iOS systems.

Method: A broad search was performed in the Google Play Store and App Store following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) protocol to identify existing apps for anxiety. A set of free and highly rated apps for anxiety were identified and the selected apps were then installed and analyzed according to a predefined data extraction strategy.

Results: A total of 167 anxiety apps were selected (123 Android apps and 44 iOS apps). Besides anxiety, the selected apps addressed several health issues including stress, depression, sleep issues, and eating disorders. The apps adopted various treatment and management approaches such as meditation, breathing exercises, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. Results also showed that 51% of the selected apps used various gamification features to motivate users to keep using them, 32% provided social features including chat, communication with others and links to sources of help; 46% offered offline availability; and only 19% reported involvement of mental health professionals in their design.

Conclusions: Anxiety apps incorporate various mental health care management methods and approaches. Apps can serve as promising tools to assist large numbers of people suffering from general anxiety or from anxiety disorders, anytime, anywhere, and particularly in the current COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2020.104243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391980PMC
September 2020

Brain Computer Interfaces for Improving the Quality of Life of Older Adults and Elderly Patients.

Front Neurosci 2020 30;14:692. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Key Laboratory of Complex System Control Theory and Application, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin, China.

All people experience aging, and the related physical and health changes, including changes in memory and brain function. These changes may become debilitating leading to an increase in dependence as people get older. Many external aids and tools have been developed to allow older adults and elderly patients to continue to live normal and comfortable lives. This mini-review describes some of the recent studies on cognitive decline and motor control impairment with the goal of advancing non-invasive brain computer interface (BCI) technologies to improve health and wellness of older adults and elderly patients. First, we describe the state of the art in cognitive prosthetics for psychiatric diseases. Then, we describe the state of the art of possible assistive BCI applications for controlling an exoskeleton, a wheelchair and smart home for elderly people with motor control impairments. The basic age-related brain and body changes, the effects of age on cognitive and motor abilities, and several BCI paradigms with typical tasks and outcomes are thoroughly described. We also discuss likely future trends and technologies to assist healthy older adults and elderly patients using innovative BCI applications with minimal technical oversight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00692DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7339951PMC
June 2020

Clinical decision support systems for chronic diseases: A Systematic literature review.

Comput Methods Programs Biomed 2020 Oct 23;195:105565. Epub 2020 May 23.

Instituto de Telecomunicações, Lisboa, Portugal; Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal.

A Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) aims to assist physicians, nurses and other professionals in decision-making related to the patient's clinical condition. CDSSs deal with pertinent and critical data, and special care should be taken in their design to ensure the development of usable, secure and reliable tools.

Objective: This paper aims to investigate existing literature dealing with the development process of CDSSs for monitoring chronic diseases, analysing their functionalities and characteristics, and the software engineering representation in their design.

Methods: A systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted to analyse the literature on CDSSs for monitoring chronic diseases and the application of software engineering techniques in their design.

Results: Fourteen included studies revealed that the most addressed disease was diabetes (42.8%) and the most commonly proposed approach was diagnostic (85.7%). Regarding data sources, the studies show a predominance on the use of databases (85.7%), with other data sources such as sensors (42.8%) and self-report (28.6%) also being considered. Analysing the representation for engineering techniques, we found Behaviour diagrams (42.8%) to be the most frequent, closely followed by Structural diagrams (35.7%) and others (78.6%) being largely mentioned. Some studies also approached the requirement specification (21.4%). The most common target evaluation was the performance of the system (64.2%) and the most common metric was accuracy (57.1%).

Conclusion: We conclude that software engineering, in its completeness, has scarce representation in studies focused on the development of CDSSs for chronic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmpb.2020.105565DOI Listing
October 2020

Clinical decision support systems for chronic diseases: A Systematic literature review.

Comput Methods Programs Biomed 2020 Oct 23;195:105565. Epub 2020 May 23.

Instituto de Telecomunicações, Lisboa, Portugal; Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal.

A Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) aims to assist physicians, nurses and other professionals in decision-making related to the patient's clinical condition. CDSSs deal with pertinent and critical data, and special care should be taken in their design to ensure the development of usable, secure and reliable tools.

Objective: This paper aims to investigate existing literature dealing with the development process of CDSSs for monitoring chronic diseases, analysing their functionalities and characteristics, and the software engineering representation in their design.

Methods: A systematic literature review (SLR) is conducted to analyse the literature on CDSSs for monitoring chronic diseases and the application of software engineering techniques in their design.

Results: Fourteen included studies revealed that the most addressed disease was diabetes (42.8%) and the most commonly proposed approach was diagnostic (85.7%). Regarding data sources, the studies show a predominance on the use of databases (85.7%), with other data sources such as sensors (42.8%) and self-report (28.6%) also being considered. Analysing the representation for engineering techniques, we found Behaviour diagrams (42.8%) to be the most frequent, closely followed by Structural diagrams (35.7%) and others (78.6%) being largely mentioned. Some studies also approached the requirement specification (21.4%). The most common target evaluation was the performance of the system (64.2%) and the most common metric was accuracy (57.1%).

Conclusion: We conclude that software engineering, in its completeness, has scarce representation in studies focused on the development of CDSSs for chronic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmpb.2020.105565DOI Listing
October 2020

Connected Health User Willingness to Share Personal Health Data: Questionnaire Study.

J Med Internet Res 2019 11 27;21(11):e14537. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.

Background: Connected health has created opportunities for leveraging health data to deliver preventive and personalized health care services. The increasing number of personal devices and advances in measurement technologies contribute to an exponential growth in digital health data. The practices for sharing data across the health ecosystem are evolving as there are more opportunities for using such data to deliver responsive health services.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore user attitudes toward sharing personal health data (PHD). The study was executed within the first year after the implementation of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legal framework.

Methods: The authors analyzed the results of an online questionnaire survey to explore the willingness of 8004 people using connected health services across four European countries to share their PHD and the conditions under which they would be willing to do so.

Results: Our findings indicate that the majority of users are willing to share their personal PHD for scientific research (1811/8004, 22.63%). Age, education level, and occupation of the participants, in addition to the level of digitalization in their country were found to be associated with data sharing attitudes.

Conclusions: Positive attitudes toward data sharing for scientific research can be perceived as an indication of trust established between users and academia. Nevertheless, the interpretation of data sharing attitudes is a complex process, related to and influenced by various factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/14537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6906622PMC
November 2019

Personal health data: A systematic mapping study.

Int J Med Inform 2018 10 4;118:86-98. Epub 2018 Aug 4.

IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Rued Langgaards Vej 7, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. Electronic address:

Background: Personal health data (PHD) research has been intensified over the last years, attracting the attention of scientists from different fields, such as software engineers, computer scientists and medical professionals. The increasing interest of researchers can be attributed to the exponential growth of the available PHD due to the widespread adoption of ubiquitous technology in everyday life, as well as to the potential of the ongoing digital transformation in healthcare. This increasing interest requires that academia has an overview of the published scientific literature to plan future endeavors.

Objective: The main objective of this study is to identify and address research gaps in literature regarding PHD.

Method: This paper conducts a systematic mapping study to summarize the existing PHD approaches in literature and to organize the selected studies according to six classification criteria: publication source, publication year, research types, empirical types, contribution types and research topic.

Results: In total 79 papers have been included after fulfilling the inclusion criteria and have been classified accordingly. There is an increasing amount of attention that has been paid to PHD since 2014. The majority of papers is published in journals. The two main research types found were solution proposals and evaluation research. The majority of the selected papers were empirically evaluated. The main contribution types were methods and frameworks. Data privacy is the most frequently addressed topic in PHD literature, followed by data sharing.

Conclusions: The findings of this systematic mapping study have implications for both researchers who are planning new studies in PHD and for practitioners who are working in connected health and would like to have an overview on the existent studies on PHD research area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2018.08.006DOI Listing
October 2018

E-health internationalization requirements for audit purposes.

Comput Methods Programs Biomed 2017 Jun 18;144:49-60. Epub 2017 Mar 18.

Software Project Management Research Team, ENSIAS, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Rabat, Morocco. Electronic address:

Background And Objective: In the 21st century, e-health is proving to be one of the strongest drivers for the global transformation of the health care industry. Health information is currently truly ubiquitous and widespread, but in order to guarantee that everyone can appropriately access and understand this information, regardless of their origin, it is essential to bridge the international gap. The diversity of health information seekers languages and cultures signifies that e-health applications must be adapted to satisfy their needs.

Methods: In order to achieve this objective, current and future e-health programs should take into account the internationalization aspects. This paper presents an internationalization requirements specification in the form of a reusable requirements catalog, obtained from the principal related standards, and describes the key methodological elements needed to perform an e-health software audit by using the internationalization knowledge previously gathered.

Results: S Health, a relevant, well-known Android application that has more than 150 million users in over 130 countries, was selected as a target for the e-health internationalization audit method and requirements specification presented above. This application example helped us to put into practice the proposal and show that the procedure is realistic and effective.

Conclusions: The approach presented in this study is subject to continuous improvement through the incorporation of new knowledge originating from additional information sources, such as other standards or stakeholders. The application example is useful for early evaluation and serves to assess the applicability of the internationalization catalog and audit methodology, and to improve them. It would be advisable to develop of an automated tool with which to carry out the audit method.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmpb.2017.03.014DOI Listing
June 2017

Compliance of blood donation apps with mobile OS usability guidelines.

J Med Syst 2015 Jun 7;39(6):63. Epub 2015 Apr 7.

Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain,

The aim of this paper is to employ the guidelines of Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone to analyze the usability compliance of free blood donation (BD) apps. An analysis process based on a systematic review protocol is used to select free BD apps. An assessment is conducted using a questionnaire composed of 13 questions concerning the compliance of free BD apps with Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone usability guidelines. A total of 133 free BD apps have been selected from the 188 BD apps identified. Around 63% of the free BD apps selected have a good compliance with mobile OS usability recommendations. Around 72% of Android, 57% of Windows Phone, 33% of iOS and 33% of Blackberry BD apps have a high usability score. The aspect of BD app behavior should be improved along with some style components: the use of pictures to explain ideas and the adaptation of the app to both horizontal and vertical orientations. Structure patterns should also be used to improve the structure aspect of a BD app. Usability is a quality aspect that should be improved in current BD apps. Our study provides smartphone users with a list of usable free BD apps and BD app developers with recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10916-015-0243-1DOI Listing
June 2015

Free blood donation mobile applications.

J Med Syst 2015 May 3;39(5):52. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain,

Blood donation (BD) is a noble act and mobile applications (apps) can help increase awareness about it. This paper analyzes and assesses the characteristics of free apps for BD as regards features and functionality. A search in Google Play, Apple Apps store, Blackberry App World and Windows Mobile App store was carried out to select 169 free BD apps from the 188 apps identified. The results presented in this paper show that the majority of the apps selected have been developed for the Android operating system. Moreover, most of the apps selected are available to help users search for donors. Few of the apps could not be installed and/or accessed. Of those that could be installed: half of them do not require any kind of authentication; a few of them are available in more than one language; half of them have a geographical restriction; around 60 % of them do not notify the user of BD events and requests; one, which is available for Android and iOS, can connect with a laboratory; around 45 % of them allow users to share information via social networks, and the majority of them do not provide BD recommendations. These results are used as a basis to provide app developers with certain recommendations. There is a need for better BD apps with more features in order to increase the number of volunteer donors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10916-015-0228-0DOI Listing
May 2015

Electronic health records for cardiovascular medicine.

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2014 ;2014:1354-7

Nowadays, many cardiology health care centers and hospitals adopt new technologies to improve interaction with their patients. The Electronic Health Records (EHR) offer health care centers and institutions the possibility to improve the management of their patients' health data. Currently, many physicians are using EHRs to improve health care quality and efficiency. A large number of companies have emerged to provide hospitals with the opportunity to adopt EHRs within a health care platform proposing different functionalities and services which achieve certain certification criteria. This paper identifies the current list of certified EHRs for cardiovascular medicine and assesses the specifications of the EHRs selected. The result of this paper may assist EHR seekers for cardiovascular medicine in their tasks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2014.6943850DOI Listing
July 2016

Free Web-based personal health records: an analysis of functionality.

J Med Syst 2013 Dec 13;37(6):9990. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Department of Informatics and Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain,

This paper analyzes and assesses the functionality of free Web-based PHRs as regards health information, user actions and connection with other tools. A systematic literature review in Medline, ACM Digital Library, IEEE Digital Library and ScienceDirect was used to select 19 free Web-based PHRs from the 47 PHRs identified. The results show that none of the PHRs selected met 100% of the 28 functions presented in this paper. Two free Web-based PHRs target a particular public. Around 90 % of the PHRs identified allow users throughout the world to create their own profiles without any geographical restrictions. Only half of the PHRs selected provide physicians with user actions. Few PHRs can connect with other tools. There was considerable variability in the types of data included in free Web-based PHRs. Functionality may have implications for PHR use and adoption, particularly as regards patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Support for standard medical document formats and protocols are required to enable data to be exchanged with other stakeholders in the health care domain. The results of our study may assist users in selecting the PHR that best fits their needs, since no significant connection exists between the number of functions of the PHRs identified and their popularity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10916-013-9990-zDOI Listing
December 2013

An analysis of free Web-based PHRs functionalities and I18n.

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2012 ;2012:1282-5

Faculty of Computer Science, Regional Campus of International Excellence “Campus MareNostrum”, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.

The growth of the Internet, Web technologies, and other electronic tools are allowing the public to become more informed and actively engaged in their health care than was possible in the past. Personal Health Records (PHR) offer users possibility of managing their own health data. Many patients are using PHRs to communicate with doctors in order to improve healthcare quality and efficiency. A large number of companies have emerged to provide consumers with the opportunity to use online PHRs within a healthcare platform, proposing different functionalities and services. This paper analyzes and assesses the functionalities and internationalization (i18n) of free Web based PHRs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2012.6346172DOI Listing
August 2013