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Currently accepted at: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Nov 6, 2019
Date Accepted: Dec 3, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/16931

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

Mobile apps for health behaviour change: a systematic review protocol

  • Madison Milne-Ives; 
  • Ching Lam; 
  • Michelle Van Velthoven; 
  • Edward Meinert; 



The popularity and ubiquity of mobile apps has rapidly expanded in the past decade. With a growing focus on patient interaction with health management, mobile apps are increasingly used to monitor health and deliver behavioural interventions. The large variation in these mobile health apps - their target patient group, health behaviour, and behavioural change strategy - has resulted in a large but incohesive body of literature.


The purpose of this protocol is to identify the current state, theories behind, and effectiveness of mobile apps for health behavior change.


The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) will be used to structure this protocol. The focus of the systematic review is guided by a population, intervention, comparator, and outcome framework (PICO). A systematic search of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Web of Science will be conducted. Two authors will independently screen the titles and abstracts of identified references and select studies according to the eligibility criteria. Any discrepancies will then be discussed and resolved. One reviewer will extract data from included studies into a standardised form, which will be validated by a second reviewer.


Pre-search protocol; results pending


This systematic review will summarize the current mobile app technologies and their effectiveness, usability, and coherence with behaviour change theory. It will identify areas of improvement and help inform the development of more effective and engaging mobile health apps.


Please cite as:

Milne-Ives M, Lam C, Van Velthoven M, Meinert E

Mobile apps for health behaviour change: a systematic review protocol

DOI: 10.2196/16931


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