Smartphone applications are being created and used to treat various mental health conditions.
According to the Wall Street Journal, developers are creating smartphone applications which some health care providers have encouraged the use of, to treat and monitor patients’ mental health conditions.
An app created by Ginger.io has been recommended by gynaecologists for patients who have come close to the end of their pregnancies. This app can help to track:
· How far the patients travel daily
· The amount of time they talk on their phones
· How often they talk on their phones
· How often they send text messages to their friends
The app was used to determine whether the above listed data could help to detect symptoms of postpartum depression. This was done by comparing patients’ data to the weekly surveys given to diagnose depression.
Also, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted $2.42 million to the Harvard School of Public Health researchers. This is to develop a smartphone app that will monitor when patients with psychiatric conditions will lock and unlock their phones so their sleeping patterns can be tracked.
Furthermore, the University of Michigan researchers are developing an app that can record and analyse patient’s vocal patterns to have more of an understanding of whether that person could be manic or depressive.
Although these apps have great potential and could also be beneficial internationally, some providers are wary about using them without concrete evidence that the benefits outweigh the cost in time and expense that these apps come with. Patient privacy and data security are also issues which have raised concerns.
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