A Telehealth Framework for Mobile Health, Smartphones, and Apps: Competencies, Training, and Faculty Development

  • Donald M. HiltyEmail author
  • Steven Chan
  • John Torous
  • John Luo
  • Robert J. Boland


Technologies like smartphones and apps are reshaping life, health care, and business. Clinicians need skills, knowledge, and attitudes to ensure quality care and to supervise the current generation of trainees, consistent with the Institute of Medicine’s Health Professions Educational Summit. Literature is integrated on patient-, learner-, competency-, and outcome-based themes from the fields of technology, health care, pedagogy, and business. Mobile health, smartphone/device, and app competencies are organized in the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Milestone domains of patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, systems-based practice, professionalism, and interpersonal skills and communication. Teaching methods are suggested to align competency outcomes, learning context, and evaluation. Services by mobile health, smartphone/device, and apps have a broader scope than in-person and telehealth and telebehavioral health care. This includes clinical decision support in medicine, hybrid delivery, and integration across health systems’ e-platforms. A curriculum with seminar, case- and problem-based teaching, supervision, evaluation, and quality improvement practices is needed to achieve competency outcomes. Clinicians have to adjust assessment, triage and treatment and attend to ethical, privacy, security, and other challenges. Health systems need to manage change, proactively plan faculty development, and create a positive e-culture for learning. Research is needed on implementing and evaluating mobile health competencies for this significant paradigm shift in health care.


Apps Training Mobile Smartphone Competencies Health Clinician Behavioral Faculty Development 



The authors acknowledge the support of the American Association of Medical Colleges, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Psychiatric Association Committee on Telepsychiatry, American Telemedicine Association and the Telemental Health Interest Group, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, and Northern California Veterans Health Care System and Mental Health Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mental Health, Northern California Veterans Administration Health Care System, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California DavisMatherUSA
  2. 2.Addiction Treatment Services, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care SystemUniversity of CaliforniaPalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.Digital Psychiatry Division, Department of PsychiatryBeth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  4. 4.UC Riverside Department of PsychiatryRiversideUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  6. 6.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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