Patients suffering from schizophrenia utilize mHealth program

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A mobile phone intervention program can prove useful for patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders by engaging them during high-risk periods--though further study is needed to assess the tool's impact on reducing relapse outcomes.

A research study published at the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health shows that the program, FOCUS, provides automated real-time and real-place illness management support and is built for patients dealing with psychotic disorders.

Looking also at a research report on FOCUS from 2014, the researchers said the findings show that "the FOCUS mobile phone program may be a useful method to reach a clinical population that is typically difficult to engage in clinic-based services during high-risk periods. The system-initiated mHealth functions led to proportionally more exposure to treatment content than on-demand tools."

The study, which involved 342 participants, evaluated mHealth intervention viability during a high-risk period and assessed potential engagement issues. However, the researchers add that most of the participants wanted to use the program, and did so successfully. That, they add, "refutes the oft-stated concern that people with schizophrenia who are not clinically stable cannot engage in mHealth interventions successfully."

The study is just one example of how use of mobile health tools for patients with mental health issues is growing. For example, earlier this year a St. Louis counseling center expanded its digital mental illness prevention and treatment services by providing mHealth apps.

For more information:
- read the study

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