The San Francisco-based Ginger.io Inc. has successfully developed a new app which helps healthcare providers identify symptoms of postpartum depression.
This is an underdiagnosed condition affecting women after they give birth.
The usage of the app by 200 women has been tracked, and it was found that behavioural patterns and symptoms tied to depression, NewsMax Health reports. For example, there was a link found between poor mood and decreased mobility on weekends and longer duration phone calls.
The Ginger.io app is a new health technology that is being used by hospitals, doctors and health insurers. Many other technologies and apps are also used that measure psychological and physical well-being such as the fitness trackers (e.g, FitBit) which record jogging distance and calories burned.
The company has stated that the app is being used by 30 medical centres in the USA. Also, other technologies are continued to be created with the aim of treating mental health conditions, heart disease and diabetes.
Here are some examples:
· The National Institutes of Health – a $2.42 million grant has been given to the Harvard School of Public Health to develop a smartphone app that will help doctors to determine sleep patterns of people with psychiatric disorders.
· University of Michigan – researchers are developing a smartphone app that records and analyses patients’ vocal patterns during telephone calls to identify whether a person has symptoms of depression or mania.
· Health insurer Aetna Inc. – they are using voice-analysis software on phone calls to enable people who receive short-term disability benefits back to work sooner.
However, many health experts are wary about using these without any hard evidence that they work. Other issues that are brought to their concern are privacy, data security, and whether this form of data collecting and analysing will bother patients.
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