Mental Health Smartphone Apps: Review and Evidence-Based

david bakker, Nikolaos Kazantzis, Debra RICKWOOD, Nikki Rickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background: The number of mental health apps (MHapps) developed and now available to smartphone users has increased in recent years. MHapps and other technology-based solutions have the potential to play an important part in the future of mental health care; however, there is no single guide for the development of evidence-based MHapps. Many currently available MHapps lack features that would greatly improve their functionality, or include features that are not optimized. Furthermore, MHapp developers rarely conduct or publish trial-based experimental validation of their apps. Indeed, a previous systematic review revealed a complete lack of trial-based evidence for many of the hundreds of MHapps available.
Objective: To guide future MHapp development, a set of clear, practical, evidence-based recommendations is presented for MHapp developers to create better, more rigorous apps.
Methods: A literature review was conducted, scrutinizing research across diverse fields, including mental health interventions, preventative health, mobile health, and mobile app design.
Results: Sixteen recommendations were formulated. Evidence for each recommendation is discussed, and guidance on how these recommendations might be integrated into the overall design of an MHapp is offered. Each recommendation is rated on the basis of the strength of associated evidence. It is important to design an MHapp using a behavioral plan and interactive framework that encourages the user to engage with the app; thus, it may not be possible to incorporate all 16 recommendations into a single MHapp.
Conclusions: Randomized controlled trials are required to validate future MHapps and the principles upon which they are designed, and to further investigate the recommendations presented in this review. Effective MHapps are required to help prevent mental health problems and to ease the burden on health systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Mental Health
Smartphone
Mobile Applications
Telemedicine
Health
Randomized Controlled Trials
Technology
Delivery of Health Care
Research

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bakker, david ; Kazantzis, Nikolaos ; RICKWOOD, Debra ; Rickard, Nikki. / Mental Health Smartphone Apps: Review and Evidence-Based. In: JMIR Mental Health. 2016 ; Vol. 3, No. 1. pp. 1-31.
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abstract = "Background: The number of mental health apps (MHapps) developed and now available to smartphone users has increased in recent years. MHapps and other technology-based solutions have the potential to play an important part in the future of mental health care; however, there is no single guide for the development of evidence-based MHapps. Many currently available MHapps lack features that would greatly improve their functionality, or include features that are not optimized. Furthermore, MHapp developers rarely conduct or publish trial-based experimental validation of their apps. Indeed, a previous systematic review revealed a complete lack of trial-based evidence for many of the hundreds of MHapps available.Objective: To guide future MHapp development, a set of clear, practical, evidence-based recommendations is presented for MHapp developers to create better, more rigorous apps.Methods: A literature review was conducted, scrutinizing research across diverse fields, including mental health interventions, preventative health, mobile health, and mobile app design.Results: Sixteen recommendations were formulated. Evidence for each recommendation is discussed, and guidance on how these recommendations might be integrated into the overall design of an MHapp is offered. Each recommendation is rated on the basis of the strength of associated evidence. It is important to design an MHapp using a behavioral plan and interactive framework that encourages the user to engage with the app; thus, it may not be possible to incorporate all 16 recommendations into a single MHapp.Conclusions: Randomized controlled trials are required to validate future MHapps and the principles upon which they are designed, and to further investigate the recommendations presented in this review. Effective MHapps are required to help prevent mental health problems and to ease the burden on health systems",
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Mental Health Smartphone Apps: Review and Evidence-Based. / bakker, david; Kazantzis, Nikolaos; RICKWOOD, Debra; Rickard, Nikki.

In: JMIR Mental Health, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2016, p. 1-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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