mHealth (mobile health) is the practice of medicine, public health and allied healthcare or self-care supported by mobile devices (e.g. smartphones, tablet computers, wearable activity monitors). Among the world's population of 7 billion there are over 5 billion mobile devices and over 90% of users have their mobile device near them 24 hours a day (European Commission, 2014). Mobile health apps have captured the public imagination allowing for unobtrusive self-monitoring and the dawn of the 'quantified self' movement as a potentially major aspect of health improvement (Commission for Communications Regulation, 2014). The development of these apps provides a unique opportunity for researchers in population health to track real-time, continuous, accurate and objective measures of health indices and related behaviour. Mobile devices provide a potentially very powerful platform for delivering behavioural interventions and providing health relevant feedback to users. Well-designed mHealth interventions may effectively change patient health-related behaviour, improve patient knowledge and support for active involvement in self-management and lifestyle change leading to better health outcomes (EU Green Paper on mHealth, 2014). However, it is critical that mHealth app developers work closely with behavioural scientists to ensure that interventions are informed by relevant behavioural theory. Health psychologists are leading the development of scientific methods for studying behaviour change, with the potential to significantly enhance public health research through employing theory-linked, evidence-based behaviour change techniques.
|Number of pages
|The European Health Psychologist
|Published - 30 Aug 2015