mHealth 101: an Introductory Guide for Mobile Apps in Clinical Practice
- 3 Downloads
Mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps) are widely available and are being released to the public at a rate that is faster than the scientific community can keep up with. Preliminary research results on the benefits of apps in mental health treatment are promising, and providers may find mHealth apps to be a useful and convenient augment to treatment as usual. In addition, patients are reporting strong interest in mHealth apps and will likely be looking to providers to help with recommendations and guidance on how to best utilize these tools. This manuscript offers a practical introductory guide for providers on the use of mHealth apps in clinical practice. Models for evaluation of an app are reviewed, followed by discussion of key areas that should be covered with patients during recommendation of an app, including issues related to privacy and security. As technology continues to quickly advance, future apps may utilize ecological momentary assessment (EMA), chat bots, or augmented and virtual reality. Providers, as a health care professionals and potential “recommenders” of apps, must increase their own awareness of and comfort with this technology to make appropriate clinical decisions for their practice and their patients.
KeywordsmHealth Mobile applications Apps
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2016). A new system to help you evaluate mental health apps. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2016/11/a-new-system-to-help-you-evaluate-mental-health-apps
- Bardus, M., van Beurden, S. B., Smith, J. R., & Abraham, C. (2016). A review and content analysis of engagement, functionality, aesthetics, information quality, and change techniques in the most popular commercial apps for weight management. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13(35), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-016-0359-9.Google Scholar
- Edwards, A. (2019). mHealth: Healthcare mobile app trends in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.ortholive.com/blog/mhealth-healthcare-mobile-app-trends-in-2019. Accessed 7 Mar 2019.
- IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. (2015). Patient adoption of mHealth: use, evidence and remaining barriers to mainstream acceptance. Retrieved from http://www.imshealth.com/en/thought-leadership/quintilesims-institute/reports/patient-adoption-of-mhealth#ims-form
- Poushter J. (2016). Smartphone ownership and internet usage continues to climb in emerging economies. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/02/22/ smartphone-ownership-and-internet-usage-continues-to-climb-in-emerging-economies.
- Powell, A. C., Torous, J., Chan, S., Raynor, G. S., Shwarts, E., Shanahan, M., & Landman, A. B. (2016). Interrater reliability of mHealth app rating measures: analysis of top depression and smoking cessation apps. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 4(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.5176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Price, M., Yuen, E. K., Goetter, E. M., Herbert, J. D., Forman, E. M., Acierno, R., & Ruggiero, K. J. (2014). mHealth: A mechanism to delivery more accessible, more effective mental health care. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 21, 427–436. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.1855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ralf-Gordon, J. 2017. The market for mHealth app services will reach $26 billion by 2017. Retrieved from https://research2guidance.com/the-market-for-mhealth-app-services-will-reach-26-billion-by-2017.
- Reger, G. M., Hoffman, J., Riggs, D., Rothbaum, B. O., Ruzek, J., Holloway, K. M., & Kuhn, E. (2013). The “PE coach” smartphone application: an innovative approach to improving implementation, fidelity, and homework adherence during prolonged exposure. Psychological Services, 10, 342–349. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Santo, K., Richtering, S. S., Chalmers, J., Thiagalingam, A., Chow, C. K., & Redfern, J. (2016). Mobile phone apps to improve medication adherence: a systematic stepwise process to identify high-quality apps. Journal of Medical Internet Research Mhealth and Uhealth, 4(4), e132. https://doi.org/10.2916/mhealth.6742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Smith, A. (2015). U.S. Smartphone use in 2015. Pew Research Center: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/
- Torous, J. B., Chan, S. R., Tan Gipson, S. Y., Kim, J. W., Nguymen, T., Luo, J., & Wang, P. (2018a). A hierarchical framework for evaluation and informed decision making regarding smartphone apps for clinical care. Psychiatric Services, 69(5), 498–500. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201700423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar