|Authors||Shen, L., Xiong, B., Li, W., Lan, F., Evans, R. and Zhang, W.|
Background: In the last few decades, mobile technologies have been widely adopted in the field of health care services to improve the accessibility to and the quality of health services received. Mobile health (mHealth) has emerged as a field of research with increasing attention being paid to it by scientific researchers and a rapid increase in related literature being reported.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the current state of research, including publication outputs, in the field of mHealth to uncover in-depth collaboration characteristics and topic burst of international mHealth research.
Methods: The authors collected literature that has been published in the last 20 years and indexed by Thomson Reuters Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC). Various statistical techniques and bibliometric measures were employed, including publication growth analysis; journal distribution; and collaboration network analysis at the author, institution, and country collaboration level. The temporal visualization map of burst terms was drawn, and the co-occurrence matrix of these burst terms was analyzed by hierarchical cluster analysis and social network analysis.
Results: A total of 2704 bibliographic records on mHealth were collected. The earliest paper centered on mHealth was published in 1997, with the number of papers rising continuously since then. A total of 21.28% (2318/10,895) of authors publishing mHealth research were first author, whereas only 1.29% (141/10,895) of authors had published one paper. The total degree of author collaboration was 4.42 (11,958/2704) and there are 266 core authors who have collectively published 53.07% (1435/2704) of the total number of publications, which means that the core group of authors has fundamentally been formed based on the Law of Price. The University of Michigan published the highest number of mHealth-related publications, but less collaboration among institutions exits. The United States is the most productive country in the field and plays a leading role in collaborative research on mHealth. There are 5543 different identified keywords in the cleaned records. The temporal bar graph clearly presents overall topic evolutionary process over time. There are 12 important research directions identified, which are in the imbalanced development. Moreover, the density of the network was 0.007, a relatively low level. These 12 topics can be categorized into 4 areas: (1) patient engagement and patient intervention, (2) health monitoring and self-care, (3) mobile device and mobile computing, and (4) security and privacy.
Conclusions: The collaboration of core authors on mHealth research is not tight and stable. Furthermore, collaboration between institutions mainly occurs in the United States, although country collaboration is seen as relatively scarce. The focus of research topics on mHealth is decentralized. Our study might provide a potential guide for future research in mHealth.