Commercial mHealth Apps and Unjust Value Trade-offs: A Public Health Perspective

Leon W.S. Rossmaier*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Mobile health (mHealth) apps for self-monitoring increasingly gain relevance for public health. As a mobile technology, they promote individual participation in health monitoring with the aim of disease prevention and the mitigation of health risks. In this paper, I argue that users of mHealth apps must engage in value trade-offs concerning their fundamental dimensions of well-being when using mobile health apps for the self-monitoring of health parameters. I particularly focus on trade-offs regarding the user’s self-determination as well as their capacity to form personal attachments. Depending on the user’s level of advantage or disadvantage, value trade-offs can pose a threat to the users’ sufficient fulfillment of the dimensions of well-being. As such, value trade-offs can entrench existing structural injustices and prevent disadvantaged users to benefit from this technology. I argue that value trade-offs are, to some, a type of injustice that can drive disadvantaged users away from a sufficiency threshold of well-being, risk users to fall below the threshold, or have an accumulative effect on different dimensions of the user’s well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Ethics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 2 Sep 2022


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