Heuristic evaluation of ehealth interventions: Establishing standards that relate to the therapeutic process perspective

Amit Baumel, Fred Muench

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In recent years, the number of available eHealth interventions aimed at treating behavioral and mental health challenges has been growing. From the perspective of health care providers, there is a need for eHealth interventions to be evaluated prior to clinical trials and for the limited resources allocated to empirical research to be invested in the most promising products. Following a literature review, a gap was found in the availability of eHealth interventions evaluation principles related to the patient experience of the therapeutic process. This paper introduces principles and concepts for the evaluation of eHealth interventions developed as a first step in a process to outline general evaluation guidelines that relate to the clinical context from health care providers' perspective. Our approach was to conduct a review of literature that relates to the examination of eHealth interventions. We identified the literature that was most relevant to our study and used it to define guidelines that relate to the clinical context. We then compiled a list of heuristics we found to be useful for the evaluation of eHealth intervention products' suitability for empirical examination. Four heuristics were identified with respect to the therapeutic process: (1) the product's ease of use (ie, usability), (2) the eHealth intervention's compatibility with the clinical setting, (3) the presence of tools that make it easier for the user to engage in therapeutic activities, and (4) the provision of a feasible therapeutic pathway to growth. We then used this set of heuristics to conduct a detailed examination of MyFitnessPal. This line of work could help to set the bar higher for product developers and to inform health care providers about preferred eHealth intervention designs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5
JournalJMIR Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Amit Baumel, Fred Muench.


  • Digital health
  • Evaluation
  • Heuristics
  • MHealth
  • Mobile health
  • Principles
  • Therapeutic process
  • eHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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