Do health and wellness apps really work?

Many mental health apps do things like send motivational messages, ask users to share how they feel, or remind them to breathe. Schueller says that of the approximately 20,000 mental health apps like these, studies have shown that only 3 or 4 percent have scientific evidence to support them.

Do health and wellness apps really work?

Many mental health apps do things like send motivational messages, ask users to share how they feel, or remind them to breathe. Schueller says that of the approximately 20,000 mental health apps like these, studies have shown that only 3 or 4 percent have scientific evidence to support them. Some researchers think that current scientific study methods for evaluating how well drugs or behavior change treatments work shouldn't necessarily be the gold standard for evaluating health applications. Patients can log in to the app directly from their phone, get a diagnosis and treatment plan, and receive prescriptions at their pharmacy, all without leaving the comfort of their home.

Recently, creators of healthcare apps have stepped in as people seek help to change their habits and improve their health. We don't support any particular health wellness app and decided to use this video because of its quality and not because of the app it promotes. A lot of therapy work is evolving at the time, and an application doesn't have the flexibility that a live session provides, he adds. This health and wellness lesson plan focuses on a discussion of health-related issues and the requests offered by employers in the workplace.

He thinks there should be more research into health apps and it could even be a marketing tool in the app store. With the explosion of health and wellness apps selling self-improvement, your smartphone could one day be the key to helping you control your lungs, mind, or waist. Similarly, patients with heart disease can send updated health information to their healthcare providers, and diabetics can monitor their blood sugar levels and send the results to their doctor. Today, developers and healthcare professionals can experiment and reach people with ease, but with little certainty that their applications can help anyone.

But it's clear that app developers, as well as scientists, have a lot to learn from each other about the value of evidence and user testing. According to Niels Eék, psychologist and co-founder of the mental wellness platform Remente, wellness apps are beneficial because they can “provide help to people much faster” and even have the potential to make treatments “more effective than was previously possible”, due to the evolution of technology, like AI. The goal here is to talk about technology and health, and this video only illustrates one solution among many that exist. One thing Schueller and Vilardaga agree on is the critical need for both health experts, users and patients, to participate in the application creation process.

Suzanne Pait
Suzanne Pait

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