App guide targets best tools for behavioral healthcare treatment

A new app guide aims to help providers find and choose the best mobile health tool for behavioral healthcare treatment.

The appImpact guide, created by the D.N. Batten Foundation and Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), provides insight and guidance on integrating health tech into the behavioral diagnosis and care giving processes.

"There are heaps of health-related apps available on the market. Some are great but others aren't," CRI CEO Tom Doub said in an announcement. "AppImpact helps providers cut through the clutter to use the best tool in the right program to effectively treat patients. These technologies are changing the behavioral healthcare landscape, and CRI's framework and best practices help providers stay on the leading edge of health solutions."

Last fall, University of Michigan psychiatrist Melvin McInnis wrote in Wired about the potential for mobile technology to impact the behavioral health field, saying that it's less a question of if it will be deployed more ubiquitously, but rather how it ultimately will be deployed.

This past spring, the Syracuse VA Medical Center launched a study to investigate if a mobile application can help veterans better self-manage post-traumatic stress disorder. The 16-week study is examining the PTSD Coach, which aims to teach users self-management strategies and techniques. While there is evidence the app can help with cognitive behavioral strategies, it's unclear whether it is a good fit for a military veteran PTSD sufferer. The research team, led by Kyle Possemato, a clinical research psychologist, also wants to see if melding the app with clinician support can enhance self-management activity.

The appImpact guide, which offers insight from selection and implementation to evaluation, can serve as a framework to boost patient treatment outcomes and cost savings, according to Doub.

"More than 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 64 percent own smartphones," Doub said. "Our goal is to capitalize on these widely available technologies to help make healthcare more convenient, accessible and effective for both clinicians and patients."

For more information:
- check out the guide (.pdf)
- read the announcement