4. Health Apps and Wearable Technologies (mHealth)

4. Health Apps and Wearable Technologies (mHealth)

Mobile health apps are a growing field of digital health technologies, and are intended for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of health conditions or diseases. The apps may store and track health information, provide health education information, offer reminders, and use GPS tracking to direct or alert patients.

Wearable technologies fall within the realm of mobile health technologies and are specific add-on devices or sensors that connect with smart phones or watches, tablets, and cloud-based computing systems to collect the wearer’s health data and health metrics.


Mobile health applications and technologies are likely to be disruptive to health care systems because they continue to proliferate and emerge within the health care landscape. If shown to be clinically effective, they may provide a novel approach for people to access and collect health information, increase patient involvement, and provide a new platform to improve access and convenience of care for certain conditions.

But keep in mind that few of these apps have been designed for or reviewed and authorized for clinical use in Canada. There is often little to no clinical evidence assessing the claims of different health apps; other issues related to their safety, data privacy, and equity will also be important to consider.

Examples of emerging mobile health apps and wearable technologies include:

  • Diabetes management. Developed by eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network in Toronto, bant is a mobile health app that provides glucose management feedback and offers management strategies for people living with diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular monitoring. Researchers have used wearable devices to track and monitor physiologic responses for people living with or at risk of developing heart conditions.
  • Mental health management. Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences has compiled a collection of online tools and mobile health applications that target specific mental health conditions.