Rehab Science Spotlight: February 2015

Citation

Boudreaux ED, Waring ME, Hayes RB, Sadasivam RS, Mullen S, Pagoto S. Evaluating and selecting mobile health apps: Strategies for healthcare providers and healthcare organizations. Translational Behavioral Medicine 2014; 4:363-371.

Summary

Nearly 1/5 of U.S. adults who own smartphones have at least one app designed to promote health and this proportion is expected to reach 50% by 2017. If we aren’t already using apps with our patients/clients, it’s almost inevitable that we will be. How can healthcare providers keep up with the proliferation of apps to help clients find the best ones for their needs, and avoid the harm that can be done with inappropriate apps? The authors of this brief article provide excellent, practical advice in the form of a 7-point “menu” of steps, not necessarily sequential, for how to find and evaluate apps for patients’ healthcare-related needs, quickly and efficiently. While some of the steps appear obvious (search the scientific literature, review user ratings in app stores, pilot test the apps yourself, elicit feedback from clients), the authors furnish a number of detailed tips for managing these tasks quickly and efficiently. For example, they give us a comprehensive, annotated table of app clearinghouse sites which provide valuable data on usability and accuracy of content and show us how to listen in on Twitter conversations among the users of the app you’re evaluating. Lots of useful information packed into just a few pages!

I picked this article because it appeared in a journal that may be off the beaten path for many Rehabilitation Psychologists, yet contains information of immediate relevance for our work.

This month's Rehab Science Spotlight was selected by Tessa Hart, PhD, Institute Scientist at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and a member of Div. 22’s Science Committee.