In recent years, there has been a surge in the development of mHealth apps. Nevertheless, there are no scoping reviews that analyze the scientific peer-reviewed articles of these tools. This research systematically reviews the scientific literature published on health apps targeting children in peer-reviewed journals. It aims to answer four questions: what is the primary purpose of these apps; for what medical specialties and main topics were they developed; whom do they target; and how they were analyzed. The study followed PRISMA methodology, and the search process used the Web of Science Core Collection. The selected terms for the search were “pediatr*” and “app.” The initial search resulted in 303 papers which, after applying filters, excluded 187 papers. In the end, 116 articles were deemed appropriate for addressing our research questions and were thoroughly reviewed. The primary purpose of pediatric health apps is to support clinical decision-making, patient education, and patient self-management. The most frequent topics covered are cancer, obesity, and asthma. Hematological oncology and endocrinology are the most frequent medical specialties addressed. The apps mainly target children, their caregivers, or both groups. Most of the apps were analyzed using observational studies, predominantly conducted in the USA, with an average participant sample size of 842. No analyses of development costs were found. These findings can be helpful for the development of future pediatric health apps.
What is Known:
• Health care has become increasingly digital due to digital health technologies, which have helped to expand the scope of health care.
• Digital health technology can be used to improve the health of children.
• The increasing availability of smartphones for children and families may enable the use of apps to deliver, promote, and sustain interventions which could lead to long-term improvements in health.
What is New:
• The most frequent topics covered were cancer, obesity, and asthma. Hematology-oncology and endocrinology were the most frequent medical specialties addressed.
• The principal aims of the pediatric health apps were to facilitate clinical decision support, patient education, and patient self-management.
• The apps mainly targeted children, their caregivers, or both groups.
• Most of them had been analyzed using observational studies.