Towards a Framework for Evaluating Mobile Mental Health Apps

Steven Chan, John Torous, W Ladson Hinton, Peter Mackinlay Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Mobile phones are ubiquitous in society and owned by a majority of psychiatric patients, including those with severe mental illness. Their versatility as a platform can extend mental health services in the areas of communication, self-monitoring, self-management, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the efficacy and reliability of publicly available applications (apps) have yet to be demonstrated. Numerous articles have noted the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy and clinical utility of smartphone apps, which are largely unregulated. Professional clinical organizations do not provide guidelines for evaluating mobile apps. Materials and Methods: Guidelines and frameworks are needed to evaluate medical apps. Numerous frameworks and evaluation criteria exist from the engineering and informatics literature, as well as interdisciplinary organizations in similar fields such as telemedicine and healthcare informatics. Results: We propose criteria for both patients and providers to use in assessing not just smartphone apps, but also wearable devices and smartwatch apps for mental health. Apps can be evaluated by their usefulness, usability, and integration and infrastructure. Apps can be categorized by their usability in one or more stages of a mental health provider's workflow. Conclusions: Ultimately, leadership is needed to develop a framework for describing apps, and guidelines are needed for both patients and mental health providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1038-1041
Number of pages4
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Volume21
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Fingerprint

Telemedicine
Mental Health
Informatics
Guidelines
Catchment Area (Health)
Mobile Applications
Cell Phones
Workflow
Mental Health Services
Self Care
Psychiatry
Communication
Organizations
Delivery of Health Care
Equipment and Supplies
Smartphone
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Behavioral health
  • Business administration/economics
  • E-health
  • Mobile health
  • Telepsychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

Cite this

Towards a Framework for Evaluating Mobile Mental Health Apps. / Chan, Steven; Torous, John; Hinton, W Ladson; Yellowlees, Peter Mackinlay.

In: Telemedicine and e-Health, Vol. 21, No. 12, 01.12.2015, p. 1038-1041.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{b10ba7b9867f46d1a9df9e16ed218eea,
title = "Towards a Framework for Evaluating Mobile Mental Health Apps",
abstract = "Introduction: Mobile phones are ubiquitous in society and owned by a majority of psychiatric patients, including those with severe mental illness. Their versatility as a platform can extend mental health services in the areas of communication, self-monitoring, self-management, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the efficacy and reliability of publicly available applications (apps) have yet to be demonstrated. Numerous articles have noted the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy and clinical utility of smartphone apps, which are largely unregulated. Professional clinical organizations do not provide guidelines for evaluating mobile apps. Materials and Methods: Guidelines and frameworks are needed to evaluate medical apps. Numerous frameworks and evaluation criteria exist from the engineering and informatics literature, as well as interdisciplinary organizations in similar fields such as telemedicine and healthcare informatics. Results: We propose criteria for both patients and providers to use in assessing not just smartphone apps, but also wearable devices and smartwatch apps for mental health. Apps can be evaluated by their usefulness, usability, and integration and infrastructure. Apps can be categorized by their usability in one or more stages of a mental health provider's workflow. Conclusions: Ultimately, leadership is needed to develop a framework for describing apps, and guidelines are needed for both patients and mental health providers.",
keywords = "Behavioral health, Business administration/economics, E-health, Mobile health, Telepsychiatry",
author = "Steven Chan and John Torous and Hinton, {W Ladson} and Yellowlees, {Peter Mackinlay}",
year = "2015",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1089/tmj.2015.0002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "1038--1041",
journal = "Telemedicine and e-Health",
issn = "1530-5627",
publisher = "Mary Ann Liebert Inc.",
number = "12",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Towards a Framework for Evaluating Mobile Mental Health Apps

AU - Chan, Steven

AU - Torous, John

AU - Hinton, W Ladson

AU - Yellowlees, Peter Mackinlay

PY - 2015/12/1

Y1 - 2015/12/1

N2 - Introduction: Mobile phones are ubiquitous in society and owned by a majority of psychiatric patients, including those with severe mental illness. Their versatility as a platform can extend mental health services in the areas of communication, self-monitoring, self-management, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the efficacy and reliability of publicly available applications (apps) have yet to be demonstrated. Numerous articles have noted the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy and clinical utility of smartphone apps, which are largely unregulated. Professional clinical organizations do not provide guidelines for evaluating mobile apps. Materials and Methods: Guidelines and frameworks are needed to evaluate medical apps. Numerous frameworks and evaluation criteria exist from the engineering and informatics literature, as well as interdisciplinary organizations in similar fields such as telemedicine and healthcare informatics. Results: We propose criteria for both patients and providers to use in assessing not just smartphone apps, but also wearable devices and smartwatch apps for mental health. Apps can be evaluated by their usefulness, usability, and integration and infrastructure. Apps can be categorized by their usability in one or more stages of a mental health provider's workflow. Conclusions: Ultimately, leadership is needed to develop a framework for describing apps, and guidelines are needed for both patients and mental health providers.

AB - Introduction: Mobile phones are ubiquitous in society and owned by a majority of psychiatric patients, including those with severe mental illness. Their versatility as a platform can extend mental health services in the areas of communication, self-monitoring, self-management, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the efficacy and reliability of publicly available applications (apps) have yet to be demonstrated. Numerous articles have noted the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy and clinical utility of smartphone apps, which are largely unregulated. Professional clinical organizations do not provide guidelines for evaluating mobile apps. Materials and Methods: Guidelines and frameworks are needed to evaluate medical apps. Numerous frameworks and evaluation criteria exist from the engineering and informatics literature, as well as interdisciplinary organizations in similar fields such as telemedicine and healthcare informatics. Results: We propose criteria for both patients and providers to use in assessing not just smartphone apps, but also wearable devices and smartwatch apps for mental health. Apps can be evaluated by their usefulness, usability, and integration and infrastructure. Apps can be categorized by their usability in one or more stages of a mental health provider's workflow. Conclusions: Ultimately, leadership is needed to develop a framework for describing apps, and guidelines are needed for both patients and mental health providers.

KW - Behavioral health

KW - Business administration/economics

KW - E-health

KW - Mobile health

KW - Telepsychiatry

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84946882742&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84946882742&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1089/tmj.2015.0002

DO - 10.1089/tmj.2015.0002

M3 - Article

VL - 21

SP - 1038

EP - 1041

JO - Telemedicine and e-Health

JF - Telemedicine and e-Health

SN - 1530-5627

IS - 12

ER -