A Hierarchical Framework for Evaluation and Informed Decision Making Regarding Smartphone Apps for Clinical Care

Psychiatr Serv. 2018 May 1;69(5):498-500. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201700423. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


With thousands of smartphone apps targeting mental health, it is difficult to ignore the rapidly expanding use of apps in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Patients with psychiatric conditions are interested in mental health apps and have begun to use them. That does not mean that clinicians must support, endorse, or even adopt the use of apps, but they should be prepared to answer patients' questions about apps and facilitate shared decision making around app use. This column describes an evaluation framework designed by the American Psychiatric Association to guide informed decision making around the use of smartphone apps in clinical care.

Keywords: Computer technology; apps; digital health; mobile health; smartphones.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Smartphone