Introduction: Considering the importance of empowering patients and their families by providing appropriate information and education, it seems smartphone apps provide a good opportunity for this group. The purpose of this review was to identify studies which used smartphone apps to help children and adolescents with cancer and their families.
Method: Arksey and O'Malley's framework was employed in this review. To examine the evidence on the design and use of smartphone apps for the target group, PubMed, Embase, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched from 2007 to November 2018.
Results: Twenty-four articles met the inclusion criteria, with 33% being conducted in the USA and 21% in Canada. Moreover, in 20 studies (83%), app was specifically designed for children and adolescents, with only three studies (13%) for parents and one study (4%) for both. The main modules of smartphone apps in these studies included symptom assessment (90%), provision of information and education (74%), communication with caregivers (57%), social support (30%) and calendar and reminder (21%).
Conclusions: Due to the easy access to smartphones without a costly infrastructure compared to landline phones, the use of mobile health (m-Health) has become a suitable method of providing healthcare services, especially for cancer. Use of smartphone apps, increases patient and families' access to reliable and suitable education and information regarding the disease. Thus, healthcare policy-makers in developing or underdeveloped countries can exploit the health-related potentials of m-Health following the experience of developed countries.