Capturing the trend of mHealth research using text mining

Hyejin Park, Min Sook Park


Background: With the increasing development and use of mobile technologies, an increasing amount of research on mobile health is being conducted. The purpose of the study was to capture the trends in mHealth research by mining terms related to medical conditions, interventions, study populations, and the relationships between these terms.
Methods: This study analyzed 5,600 journal articles published in Web of Science from 2008 to 2018. Using text mining techniques, a total of 39,292 terms extracted from the titles and abstracts of the journal articles were independently reviewed to identify meaningful terms related to medical conditions, interventions, and study populations.
Results: A total of 48 different types of medical conditions were identified in the dataset. Mood disorders appeared to be the most frequently identified medical condition in mHealth research. Thirty interventions were identified. Cell phone-, SMS-, and Internet-based interventions appeared to be the most prominent types, and “female” appeared to be the most frequently identified term related to the studied population. Females appeared to have been studied in the widest range of medical conditions, including pregnancy issues, overnutrition, neoplasms, and AIDS. Older adults were the least studied population in mHealth.
Conclusions: Knowledge gaps that have not been explored in previous studies in mHealth research were identified, which should be addressed by researchers.