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Generating value with mental health apps

  • Adam C. Powell (a1), John B. Torous (a2), Joseph Firth (a3) and Kenneth R. Kaufman (a4)



Although apps are increasingly being used to support the diagnosis, treatment and management of mental illness, there is no single means through which costs associated with mental apps are being reimbursed. Furthermore, different apps are amenable to different means of reimbursement as not all apps generate value in the same way.


To provide insights into how apps are currently generating value and being reimbursed across the world, with a particular focus on the situation in the USA.


An international team performed secondary research on how apps are being used and on common pathways to remuneration.


The uses of apps today and in the future are reviewed, the nature of the value delivered by apps is summarised and an overview of app reimbursement in the USA and other countries is provided. Recommendations regarding how payments might be made for apps in the future are discussed.


Currently, apps are being reimbursed through channels with other original purposes. There may be a need to develop an app-specific channel for reimbursement which is analogous to the channels used for devices, drugs and laboratory tests.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Adam C. Powell. Email:


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Declaration of interest: A.P. reports employment by Payer + Provider Syndicate, and stock ownership of Berkshire Hathaway, Community Health Systems, CVS Health Corp, HCA Healthcare, Payer + Provider Syndicate, Quorum Health Corp and Tenet Healthcare Corp. A.P. is a paid member of the Scientific Advisory Board of PsyberGuide and of the Expert's Council of the Mary Christie Foundation. J.T. reports research support from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. J.F. and K.K. report no competing interests.



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Generating value with mental health apps

  • Adam C. Powell (a1), John B. Torous (a2), Joseph Firth (a3) and Kenneth R. Kaufman (a4)


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Generating value with mental health apps

  • Adam C. Powell (a1), John B. Torous (a2), Joseph Firth (a3) and Kenneth R. Kaufman (a4)
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