Usability of Commercial mHealth Toolkits From a Developer Perspective - An Empirical Evaluation of Google Fit, Apple HealthKit and Samsung Digital Health
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Self-monitoring and sharing of data to enhance personal fitness and health has rapidly increased in popularity, and as a result, there has emerged a market for delivering tools supporting development and usage of technology that can contribute to this emerging trend. This thesis aims to describe and evaluate the leading development platforms in this field from the perspective of a developer developing mobile health applications. The conducted research consisted of a case study where data was generated from online documents, online questionnaires, and from the development of example applications using different mobile health platforms. In addition, we performed an observation study with students where we gave the students concrete tasks with the examined mHealth Toolkit platforms, with corresponding interviews and questionnaires. The three platforms Apple HealthKit, Google Fit, and Samsung Digital Health(SDH) were found relevant, examined and then compared, to find strengths and weaknesses of each platform with regards to the stated issues. The analysis was used to evaluate the productivity, usability and added creativity to the development process for developers by using the named mHealth Toolkits. With the thesis, we found that when designing an mHealth Toolkit to be utilized by developers when developing mobile health applications and services, there are several concerns that need to be addressed to increase the efficiency and productivity of the developer. From the document analysis, we found that the Toolkits differ in technical architecture, data models and application development process, where the most important finding was that Google Fit cannot be used for Health purposes. The example system revealed that mHealth applications can be developed using both Apple HealthKit and SDH, using significantly less time and lines of code with HealthKit. From the observation study, we found that both Apple HealthKit and SDH simplified the overall development process. In addition, SDH's API proved to have a more intuitive naming and a more descriptive documentation than HealthKit. HealthKit's higher level of implementation was however more intuitive. The questionnaire with experienced developers revealed that Apple HealthKit scored highest among the three with developers commenting that no toolkit is stable/reliable enough to be used in production. Despite this, the evaluated Toolkits show potential and if the mHealth Toolkit providers address the identified concerns, they might be viable solutions in the foreseeable future.