Commercial mHealth Apps and the Providers’ Responsibility for Hope

Leon Rossmaier*, Yashar Saghai, Philip Brey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

In this paper, we ask whether the providers of commercial mHealth apps for self-tracking create inflated or false hopes for vulnerable user groups and whether they should be held responsible for this. This question is relevant because hopes created by the providers determine the modalities of the apps’ use. Due to the created hopes, users who may be vulnerable to certain design features of the app can experience bad outcomes in various dimensions of their well-being. This adds to structural injustices sustaining or exacerbating the vulnerable position of such user groups. We define structural injustices as systemic disadvantages for certain social groups that may be sustained or exacerbated by unfair power relations. Inflated hopes can also exclude digitally disadvantaged users. Thus, the hopes created by the providers of commercial mHealth apps for self-tracking press the question of whether the deployment and use of mHealth apps meet the requirements for qualifying as a just public health endeavor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalDigital Society
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D

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