Do mobile health applications (mHealth apps) promise solutions to such pressing public health problems as increasing access to care, reducing inequalities in health, lowering health care costs, and providing people with new tools to reduce risky behavior and manage chronic diseases? To answer this question, public health professionals and researchers need to examine how the more than 259 000 mHealth apps now available in the US market contribute to improved population health now and will in the future.
In this issue of AJPH, Grundy et al. (p. 1783) provide evidence that may temper the often uncritically enthusiastic response to mHealth apps from the media, business, and some health professionals and policymakers. In a social network analysis of the financial relationships among app developers, investors, funding sources, and content advisers of a purposive sample of 491 mHealth apps in the United States, Canada, and Australia, the authors found several causes for concern.