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Mobile Health (mHealth) technologies are increasingly becoming an essential part of healthy lifestyles, disease prevention and disease management. The field is developing at a rapid pace, with emerging mHealth technologies being met with enthusiasm and promoted as tools to revolutionize healthcare. We believe that a wide implementation of mHealth technologies can have a transformative impact on health care provision and that it can significantly shape health care systems and public health outcomes. In this paper, we interrogate the major challenges accompanying such developments. Considering the hopes associated with mHealth technologies, we find it important to open a discussion about their challenging aspects, including the emphasis on self-monitoring, -management and -responsibility for health (implicit in and reinforced by mHealth) algorithmic biases, technological risks, increasing influence of the private IT-sector and new roles for health care professionals. The overall aim of our analysis is to support responsible, socially sustainable and user-centric innovation in mHealth.



Tereza Hendl and Verina Wild


Tereza Hendl holds a PhD in Philosophy from Macquarie University, Australia. Her dissertation explores the ethics of prenatal sex selection for social reasons. She has previously worked as a Research Associate at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Co-project Leader on the BMBF-funded project “META – mHealth: Ethical, legal and societal aspects in the technological age” at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU). Her research interests include the epistemology, ethical and social implications of emerging technologies, concerns pertaining algorithmic bias, postcolonial feminist debates about social justice and issues regarding sex, gender and disability. In May 2019, she will be conducting research at the Ethox Centre in Oxford as part of the Caroline Miles Visiting Scholarship.

Verina Wild is a Deputy Director at the Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at the LMU. Since April 2018 she has been leading the Federal Ministry of Education and Research-funded research group “META”. She teaches medical ethics, public health ethics and global health ethics at the Universities in Munich, Zurich and Bern. Prior to becoming a scholar in health ethics she has worked as a physician in internal medicine in Berlin, Germany and gathered work experience in Tanzania, Scotland, Spain and Argentina. Her current research focus is on ethical, legal and social aspects of mobile health technologies.