Mental health and mobile: Tools to help patients with severe issues

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Greater investigation and insight is needed when it comes to using mobile tools for patients with severe mental health issues, researchers conclude in a new review published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

"Previous research has indicated that interventions delivered in this format are acceptable for people with SMI," the researchers, from the University of Manchester and Lancaster University, say. "However, a comprehensive systematic review is needed to investigate the acceptability of online and mobile phone-delivered interventions for SMI in depth."

For the review, the researchers examined 49 studies on mobile phone and online interventions and acceptability. They determined hypothetical acceptability was relatively low, while actual acceptability tended to be high.

"The majority of studies that assessed the impact of demographic characteristics on acceptability reported no significant relationships between the two," the researchers say. We "recommend that researchers measure both hypothetical and actual acceptability to identify whether initial perceptions of online and mobile phone-delivered interventions change after access."

Mobile technologies, such as smartphone apps, increasingly are being tapped to track human behavior, speech and voice levels, moods and social interaction to help those suffering from mental illness, include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. As FierceMobileHealthcare reported in April, some experts believe mental health apps should be backed up by some form of clinical evidence before being released to consumers.

The researchers also believe a bigger focus is needed on how demographics and clinical characteristics impact acceptability.

For more information:
- read the JMIR review