Emerging Artificial Intelligence-Empowered mHealth: Scoping Review

Paras Bhatt, Jia Liu, Yanmin Gong, Jing Wang, Yuanxiong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized health care delivery in recent years. There is an increase in research for advanced AI techniques, such as deep learning, to build predictive models for the early detection of diseases. Such predictive models leverage mobile health (mHealth) data from wearable sensors and smartphones to discover novel ways for detecting and managing chronic diseases and mental health conditions. Objective: Currently, little is known about the use of AI-powered mHealth (AIM) settings. Therefore, this scoping review aims to map current research on the emerging use of AIM for managing diseases and promoting health. Our objective is to synthesize research in AIM models that have increasingly been used for health care delivery in the last 2 years. Methods: Using Arksey and O'Malley's 5-point framework for conducting scoping reviews, we reviewed AIM literature from the past 2 years in the fields of biomedical technology, AI, and information systems. We searched 3 databases, PubsOnline at INFORMS, e-journal archive at MIS Quarterly, and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library using keywords such as "mobile healthcare," "wearable medical sensors," "smartphones", and "AI." We included AIM articles and excluded technical articles focused only on AI models. We also used the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) technique for identifying articles that represent a comprehensive view of current research in the AIM domain. Results: We screened 108 articles focusing on developing AIM models for ensuring better health care delivery, detecting diseases early, and diagnosing chronic health conditions, and 37 articles were eligible for inclusion, with 31 of the 37 articles being published last year (76%). Of the included articles, 9 studied AI models to detect serious mental health issues, such as depression and suicidal tendencies, and chronic health conditions, such as sleep apnea and diabetes. Several articles discussed the application of AIM models for remote patient monitoring and disease management. The considered primary health concerns belonged to 3 categories: mental health, physical health, and health promotion and wellness. Moreover, 14 of the 37 articles used AIM applications to research physical health, representing 38% of the total studies. Finally, 28 out of the 37 (76%) studies used proprietary data sets rather than public data sets. We found a lack of research in addressing chronic mental health issues and a lack of publicly available data sets for AIM research. Conclusions: The application of AIM models for disease detection and management is a growing research domain. These models provide accurate predictions for enabling preventive care on a broader scale in the health care domain. Given the ever-increasing need for remote disease management during the pandemic, recent AI techniques, such as federated learning and explainable AI, can act as a catalyst for increasing the adoption of AIM and enabling secure data sharing across the health care industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere35053
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • artificial intelligence
  • machine learning
  • mobile health units
  • review literature as topic
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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