The rapid rise of smartphone apps for physical health and mental health has outpaced psychiatric educators’ ability to formulate best practices and standards . The most recent industry data suggest there are over 300,000 health apps available on their commercial marketplaces  and over 10,000 of these are relevant to mental health . While many of these apps are patient facing, there are also many apps of interest to medical students and psychiatry residents. These apps can be considered as (a) tools that directly support clinical care, e.g., patient apps and associated provider dashboards, versus (b) indirect supports, such as tools for provider use/reference . Examples of apps that directly support clinical care include those from electronic health record vendors, such as Epic and Cerner, that allow access to patient information from a smartphone. There are also numerous apps to facilitate secure text messaging and scheduling with staff and colleagues regarding clinical care issues. Examples of indirect support apps are numerous. For example, even the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) 5 is available on an app that offers the advantage of automatic and free updates for any approved revisions. Many well-used psychopharmacology reference books also have app versions, which may be more convenient to access compared to carrying a book around the clinic. There are also apps that psychiatrists can use to remotely monitor symptoms like mood, track medication adherence, promote healthy lifestyle interventions, facilitate homework completion for cognitive therapies, message patients, and more.
Providing up-to-date, accurate, and relevant education and supervision for trainee use of this plethora of new digital tools remains an evolving challenge for psychiatry educators. With many medical students and residents already using smartphones in various roles in their medical education and in clinical care roles, it is important that psychiatric educators are familiar with the potential—as well as limitations—of these tools and offer guidance in the context of didactics, supervision, and clinical feedback. However, educators themselves may experience difficulty in “keeping up” with technology, identifying the evolving role of mobile health tools for clinical care and offering guidance for use of these tools in busy clinical settings. Therefore, this article explores the landscape of smartphones for psychiatric education and offers an easy-to-apply framework to help educators evaluate these digital resources. The objective of this paper is to inform the reader about the current knowledge base of smartphones in psychiatry education, current resources to help educators themselves learn more, and current methods to evaluate smartphone apps.