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The advancement of mobile technology had positively influenced healthcare services. An emerging subfield of mobile technology is mobile health (m-Health) in which mobile applications are used for health purposes. The aim of this study was to analyze and assess literature published in the field of m-Health.
SciVerse Scopus was used to retrieve literature in m-Health. The study period was set from 2006 to 2016. ArcGIS 10.1 was used to present geographical distribution of publications while VOSviewer was used for data visualization. Growth of publications, citation analysis, and research productivity were presented using standard bibliometric indicators.
During the study period, a total of 5465 documents were published, giving an average of 496.8 documents per year. The h-index of retrieved documents was 81. Core keywords used in literature pertaining to m-Health included diabetes mellitus, adherence, and obesity among others. Relative growth rate and doubling time of retrieved literature were stable from 2009 to 2015 indicating exponential growth of literature in this field. A total of 4638 (84.9%) documents were multi-authored with a mean collaboration index of 4.1 authors per article. The United States of America ranked first in productivity with 1926 (35.2%) published documents. India ranked sixth with 183 (3.3%) documents while China ranked seventh with 155(2.8%) documents. VA Medical Center was the most prolific organization/institution while Journal of Medical Internet Research was the preferred journal for publications in the field of m-Health. Top cited articles in the field of m-Health included the use of mobile technology in improving adherence in HIV patients, weight loss, and improving glycemic control in diabetic patients.
The size of literature in m-Health showed a noticeable increase in the past decade. Given the large volume of citations received in this field, it is expected that applications of m-Health will be seen into various health aspects and health services. Research in m-Health needs to be encouraged, particularly in the fight against AIDS, poor medication adherence, glycemic control in Africa and other low income world regions where technology can improve health services and decrease disease burden.