Message from the Director

mHealth Impact

Hello! I am honored to share with you the accomplishments of the mHealth Impact Laboratory for 2018-2019. We have had an incredible year and are looking forward to more opportunities to create and curate mobile and digital health solutions that address inequalities in health outcomes. You may be well aware that there are now hundreds of thousands of technology-based applications—be they smartphone or tablet apps, or social media based, or Internet solutions—that purport to help us achieve or maintain wellness. It is our conviction in the mHealth Impact Lab that it isn’t enough to simply develop technology-based applications and make them available through an app store or via social media. We believe that to truly make contributions in mHealth, one must rigorously evaluate mHealth tools and curate and promote those that have scientific, peer-reviewed evidence that they can impact health behaviors and health outcomes. Fortunately, our own research and that in the mobile and digital health field more broadly is now consistently demonstrating that mHealth can indeed impact both health behavior and health outcomes. While the field has rigorously reviewed only the smallest fraction of the mHealth tools available to consumers, we now have a growing understanding of “what works” using technology. We must of course continue to evaluate existing and new mHealth solutions. At the same time, we note that those solutions that have been evaluated have not always—nor even often—been developed specifically for communities that could benefit substantially from mHealth. We are strongly committed to working with communities that face disparities in health outcomes to ensure they have access to mobile and digital solutions that could be impactful for their well- being. In addition to reaching more communities that face health disparities, we are eager to take investigations in mHealth to scale, so that they can reach and impact entire populations rather than isolated groups. This is the true potential of mHealth—to facilitate on demand, user-centric solutions to our pressing health challenges.

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