Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 363–371 | Cite as

Evaluating and selecting mobile health apps: strategies for healthcare providers and healthcare organizations

  • Edwin D Boudreaux
  • Molly E Waring
  • Rashelle B Hayes
  • Rajani S Sadasivam
  • Sean Mullen
  • Sherry Pagoto
Practice Tool


Mobile applications (apps) to improve health are proliferating, but before healthcare providers or organizations can recommend an app to the patients they serve, they need to be confident the app will be user-friendly and helpful for the target disease or behavior. This paper summarizes seven strategies for evaluating and selecting health-related apps: (1) Review the scientific literature, (2) Search app clearinghouse websites, (3) Search app stores, (4) Review app descriptions, user ratings, and reviews, (5) Conduct a social media query within professional and, if available, patient networks, (6) Pilot the apps, and (7) Elicit feedback from patients. The paper concludes with an illustrative case example. Because of the enormous range of quality among apps, strategies for evaluating them will be necessary for adoption to occur in a way that aligns with core values in healthcare, such as the Hippocratic principles of nonmaleficence and beneficence.


Mobile health e-health Application Health promotion Health behavior 


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin D Boudreaux
    • 1
  • Molly E Waring
    • 2
  • Rashelle B Hayes
    • 3
  • Rajani S Sadasivam
    • 4
  • Sean Mullen
    • 5
  • Sherry Pagoto
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and Quantitative Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases and Vulnerable Populations, Department of Quantitative Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  4. 4.Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Quantitative Health SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  5. 5.Department of Kinesiology & Community HealthUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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