Smartphone apps are increasingly being developed to address mental health problems, including eating disorders. Yet a review by O'Leary and Torous (2022) revealed the dearth of publicly available evidence-based apps for eating disorders, despite growing research in this area in recent years. The lack of publicly available evidence-based apps is problematic for society and reflects a gap in the research-to-practice translation of the advances that have been made through academic research in this area. We detail barriers that academic researchers face to such translation, including the lack of incentives and pathways for making these interventions available beyond the academic institutions in which they are often created. The effective translation of eating disorder apps, and other digital approaches, from research to practice will require new approaches, including bolstering successful and sustainable translation through partnerships across sectors, being more proactive toward research-to-practice translation, and designing more sustainable digital interventions. Harnessing such approaches can improve the availability of evidence-based eating disorder apps and other digital approaches. Additionally, academic researchers are encouraged to be advocates within their institutions and with funding agencies to find ways to better incentivize and fund these efforts.
- digital interventions
- human-centered design
- implementation science
- technology-based interventions