Strategies for mHealth Research: Lessons from 3 Mobile Intervention Studies

Dror Ben-Zeev*, Stephen M. Schueller, Mark Begale, Jennifer Duffecy, John M. Kane, David C. Mohr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The capacity of Mobile Health (mHealth) technologies to propel healthcare forward is directly linked to the quality of mobile interventions developed through careful mHealth research. mHealth research entails several unique characteristics, including collaboration with technologists at all phases of a project, reliance on regional telecommunication infrastructure and commercial mobile service providers, and deployment and evaluation of interventions “in the wild”, with participants using mobile tools in uncontrolled environments. In the current paper, we summarize the lessons our multi-institutional/multi-disciplinary team has learned conducting a range of mHealth projects using mobile phones with diverse clinical populations. First, we describe three ongoing projects that we draw from to illustrate throughout the paper. We then provide an example for multidisciplinary teamwork and conceptual mHealth intervention development that we found to be particularly useful. Finally, we discuss mHealth research challenges (i.e. evolving technology, mobile phone selection, user characteristics, the deployment environment, and mHealth system “bugs and glitches”), and provide recommendations for identifying and resolving barriers, or preventing their occurrence altogether.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Depression
  • Mobile Health (mHealth)
  • Mobile interventions
  • Primary care
  • Schizophrenia
  • e-Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health Policy
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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