The expanding use of mobile health (mHealth) technologies is unprecedented in the history of medicine. Every month, companies and researchers release new smartphone apps, smart watches, and sensor technologies for the health care market. Psychiatry has been no exception to this trend. There has also been growing patient, clinical, government, and payer interest in the potential of mHealth technologies for psychiatric clinical care. Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, and other mental health clinicians are increasingly faced with questions regarding the efficacy and risks of mobile and online apps.
APA is helping psychiatrists and other mental health professionals navigate these issues by pointing out important aspects you should consider when making an app selection and determining whether an app works for you and your patients. The material provided here covers: (1) why it is critical to assess an app, (2) how to evaluate an app, and (3) an opportunity to seek additional guidance on apps and/or the evaluation process. It is not intended to provide a recommendation, endorsement, or criticism of any particular app, but rather serves as a tool for you to do your own evaluation of any app you might be considering. The goal is that in using this methodology, you will be able to make your own educated decision about particular apps and their suitability for your practice.