Mobile health technology evaluation: The mHealth Evidence workshop
Creative use of new mobile and wearable health information and sensing technologies (mHealth) has the potential to reduce the cost of health care and improve well-being in numerous ways. These applications are being developed in a variety of domains, but rigorous research is needed to examine the potential, as well as the challenges, of utilizing mobile technologies to improve health outcomes. Currently, evidence is sparse for the efficacy of mHealth. Although these technologies may be appealing and seemingly innocuous, research is needed to assess when, where, and for whom mHealth devices, apps, and systems are efficacious.
In order to outline an approach to evidence generation in the field of mHealth that would ensure research is conducted on a rigorous empirical and theoretic foundation, on August 16, 2011, researchers gathered for the mHealth Evidence Workshop at NIH. The current paper presents the results of the workshop. Although the discussions at the meeting were cross-cutting, the areas covered can be categorized broadly into three areas: (1) evaluating assessments; (2) evaluating interventions; and (3) reshaping evidence generation using mHealth. This paper brings these concepts together to describe current evaluation standards, discuss future possibilities, and set a grand goal for the emerging field of mHealth research.