Healthcare in the pocket: mapping the space of mobile-phone health interventions

J Biomed Inform. 2012 Feb;45(1):184-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2011.08.017. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Mobile phones are becoming an increasingly important platform for the delivery of health interventions. In recent years, researchers have used mobile phones as tools for encouraging physical activity and healthy diets, for symptom monitoring in asthma and heart disease, for sending patients reminders about upcoming appointments, for supporting smoking cessation, and for a range of other health problems. This paper provides an overview of this rapidly growing body of work. We describe the features of mobile phones that make them a particularly promising platform for health interventions, and we identify five basic intervention strategies that have been used in mobile-phone health applications across different health conditions. Finally, we outline the directions for future research that could increase our understanding of functional and design requirements for the development of highly effective mobile-phone health interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Early Medical Intervention / methods*
  • Humans
  • Telemedicine / methods*