Apps sensing patients' moods show promise for mental health

Dr. House said it best: Patients lie.

So what if there was a mobile device that would allow clinicians to detect when, say, a patient was fibbing about his or her current state of mind? Developers are working on mobile technology that will analyze emotions by studying vocal, visual and physiological clues, reports Healthcare IT News.

But the technology is not quite ready for primetime, Meghan Searl, Ph.D., a psychologist with Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, told the publication."It's absolutely brand-new, very much experimental … It's a very nuanced and complex field, so a lot of validation work has to be done."

Still, she says, the technology would be useful in a mental health setting, picking up signs of depression in patients, for example.  

Often touted as a solution ideal for chronic conditions such as diabetes and chronic heart disease, mHealth applications and telehealth also show promise in the field of mental health.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, has pledged to improve mental health services for veterans by conducting 200,000 remote consultations this year, FierceHealthIT recently reported.

And research from Northwestern University on phone-based therapy found it just as effective as face-to-face sessions.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article