Mobile applications for client use: Ethical and legal considerations.

Mobile applications (apps) to support behavioral health are increasing in number and are recommended frequently by medical providers in a variety of settings. As with the use of any adjunct tool in therapy, psychologists adopting new technologies in clinical practice must comply with relevant professional ethics codes and legal standards. However, emerging technologies can outpace regulations regarding their use, presenting novel ethical considerations. Therefore, it is incumbent upon providers to extrapolate current ethical standards and laws to new technologies before they recommend them as adjuncts to face-to-face treatment. This article identifies best practices for incorporating apps into treatment, including competence in the use of smartphones in general and familiarity with the specific apps recommended. Psychologists must conduct informed consent procedures in accordance with existing evidence, as well as privacy and security concerns relating to a particular app, in order to mitigate potential liability regarding the collection of client-generated data. Psychologists also should be prepared to educate clients about how best to safeguard their data, such as through encryption, password protection, or remote deletion of data. By doing so, psychologists can balance potentially competing demands of leveraging emerging technology to improve care while simultaneously ensuring ethical and legal compliance in these new areas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)