mHealth 101: an Introductory Guide for Mobile Apps in Clinical Practice

  • Kristen PerryEmail author
  • Erika Shearer
  • Patrick Sylvers
  • Jessica Carlile
  • Bradford Felker


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.


mHealth Mobile applications Apps 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VA Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  2. 2.University of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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