A smartphone app that can help psychiatrists diagnose mental illness

A smartphone app that can help psychiatrists diagnose mental illness

“A smartphone app that can help psychiatrists diagnose mental illness” –  Peter Hagelund, a Monsenso user, speaks about his experience using the Monsenso mobile health solution to support his treatment, and how it has helped  him improve the communication with his psychiatrist.

Prior to using the Monsenso smartphone app, Peter and his psychiatrist followed the typical therapeutic setting, they would schedule an appointment every two-three weeks, and they would have a conversation to discuss Peter’s previous weeks.  Peter would usually say that he had been doing fine for each appointment, but sometimes he forgot important details that he wanted to discuss.

“It can be pretty tricky to remember, two weeks later [between appointments] how you actually felt that day. With the app it’s really easy to go back and see if your mood has been pretty stable over the last two months, or if you had had some ups and downs over a period,” says Peter Hagelund.

Now, instead of relying on Peter’s memory during the appointment, his psychiatrist can access his data and see how he has been doing, as it happened. He can view how much he has been sleeping, how much he exercises, how much he drinks, how much anxiety he has, and other relevant aspects to his treatment and his disorder.

“My psychiatrist now says things like You say you’ve been doing fine, but I can actually see that you’ve had a few ups and downs. I think the app helps him get a real view of how I have been doing,” says Peter Hagelund.

In his Danish documentary series “Jeg savner min sygdom” (which translates to “I miss my illness”), Peter Hagelund talks about his experience of getting the wrong diagnosis and how finally after six years he got the right diagnosis and treatment. 

In 2014, he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2.

During his whole life, he knew there was something different about him. He always struggled with depression and anxiety, and what eventually turned out to be hypomania. When he was 22, he had his first big episode of depression and began taking antidepressants. However, it took six more years before he was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2.

He says that one of the trickiest things about having this diagnosis is that he does not experience the typical manic episode where a person feels over-energetic and nearly psychotic. Instead, he feels hypomanic, which means that he is socially well functioning. He is not psychotic. He just feels really well; the problem with this, was that he didn’t feel the need to inform his psychiatrist the fact that he was feeling too well

His psychiatrist found out that he had Bipolar Disorder was because he couldn’t come out of his depression. At first, he was diagnosed with depression and ADD. But these diagnoses didn’t seem to fit because he still had strong mood swings and a lot of anxiety. When he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2, it actually made sense to him. Suddenly, he could see why he had felt the way he had most of his life.

“I really believe that the Monsenso smartphone app could have helped my psychiatrist give me the right diagnosis at an earlier stage because the app helps me to keep track of my mood and to become more aware of how I feel. With the app, I have to pause and take a moment to think about how I’ve actually been doing before entering my answers. Keeping track of all this information has helped my treatment. My psychiatrist and I can plan better on how to avoid my future depressive or hypomanic episodes because we can clearly identify when I am having mood swings”. says Peter Hagelund.  

In August 2018, his documentary about living with Bipolar Disorder aired on national Danish television and the response was overwhelming. Many people contacted him, to thank him for talking about his illness. He made the documentary so other people who have this illness, do not feel ashamed of it.

“My hope is that in the future people are diagnosed at an earlier stage than I was and I truly believe the Monsenso app is one of the things that can help. I really hope that other psychiatrists and their patients will start using the app,” he added.

Click here to read this story in Danish.

Getting started with mHealth technology for mental health

Getting started with mHealth technology for mental health

Getting started with mHealth technology for mental health can seem like a daunting process even though it has proven to bring many benefits to medical practice such as improving medication adherence, increase patient engagement and improve health outcomes in a cost-efficient way.  Therefore, the sooner healthcare providers embrace this technology, the better.

Luckily, mHealth technology does not only offer benefits for patients, but it also solves many of today’s healthcare challenges, since it provides healthcare providers with the scalability to treat more patients with fewer resources.

In spite of the clear benefits, many healthcare providers, have not yet fully embraced mHealth technology due to several reasons:

  • Lack of budget
  • Uncertainty about choosing the right tool
  • Uncertainty about the ease-of-use
  • Uncertainty if it will, in fact, make a difference

Luckily, Monsenso is committed to helping healthcare providers overcome these obstacles.

Lack of Budget: A lack of budget may seem like the largest impediment to acquiring digital health tools. However, this type of tool should be considered as a valuable investment, since it enables providers to treat and monitor more patients with fewer resources. Besides, all healthcare professionals may have access to the same patient data even when their main practitioner is not available.

Uncertainty about choosing the right tool: Choosing the right tool may be confusing because the functionality greatly varies among the different suppliers. One thing is certain, providers need to choose an mHealth solution rather than a health app since the later does not allow information-sharing between patients and providers. Other criteria should include looking for a solution that is technically and clinically validated, is well-established in the market, and it holds relevant certifications such as the one given to the medical device companies, CE Mark and other ISO certifications.

Uncertainty about the ease-of-use: UI and UX have evolved considerably during the last few years, therefore the product development team of any serious company offering an mHealth solution, will take into consideration these principles to ensure the product provides a meaningful and relevant experience to users in terms of design, usability and function. It is as simple as booking a product demo or requesting a free trial to ensure that the desired solution is intuitive and easy to use for doctors and patients alike.

Uncertainty if it will, in fact, make a difference: Perhaps, this may seem the hardest obstacle to overcome. Would this thing actually work? Although no one can guaranty if a tool will work for a specific medical practice, there is a precedent that this technology actually works. According to a recent study conducted by McMaster University, online therapy can be more effective than in person. You can also read third-party validations to give you confidence in your choice.

mHealth solutions can improve health outcomes in a cost-efficient way

mHealth solutions can improve health outcomes in a cost-efficient way

MHealth solutions can improve health outcomes in a cost-efficient and scalable way. They assist healthcare professionals with the management and documentation of medical records, help improve productivity and allow access to information.

These tools also help healthcare professionals to communicate findings and reduce error rates, not to mention the reduction of overall healthcare costs. Mobile solutions can also facilitate the treatment process, automate management systems and manage patient experience.

They use sophisticated data analytics and mobile technologies to help provide the best care possible, at a lower cost, anytime, anywhere. Cloud-based solutions are gaining prominence as data is stored on the internet for easy access, removing the need for storing the data locally. New mobile applications integrate patient data with geo-location information stored on the cloud.

Mobile apps facilitate better and easier health management through simple applications like exercise trackers, diet, and calorie-counting, among others.

Now more than ever, due to budget constraints and a shortage of qualified personnel, healthcare providers are looking for new ways to reduce administrative processes, improve productivity, and enable clinicians to spend more time on patient care rather than processing paperwork. With this in mind, organisations are looking into migrating from paper-based to paperless systems.

Mobile data-capturing solutions are beneficial for healthcare professionals and patients alike since they improve workflows and enable clinicians to spend more time seeing patients.

MHealth solutions enable healthcare professionals to access patient information more efficiently, ensuring patients receive better care, even if their primary clinician is not available.

Furthermore, communities are looking to form multi-sector collaborations that support their ability to better understand and tackle the social determinants of health. There is a growing need to build capacity beyond the healthcare sector and to find new ways to integrate data from multiple areas to improve community health.

MHealth solution help provide coordinated care

For people with complex health issues, such as those with a severe mental illness, the coordination of medical and community services can significantly improve their quality of life.

These individuals often require the most costly treatment and care. Therefore, many communities are aiming to link the available data between social services and clinical services to provide more comprehensive care.

Using aggregated data to improve community health

Linking aggregated data from different sources may reveal information about a particular population group, enabling healthcare providers to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the health factors in a specific community.

 Measuring health at a more detailed level allows decision-makers from the public healthcare system to recognise differences, plan more effective interventions, and monitor a particular group over time.

MHealth solutions enable the re-use of research health data to drive healthcare initiatives

Academic institutions and non-profit organisations continuously conduct research on specific patient-groups. Since these organisations collect and analyse health-and-behavioural-related data on vulnerable populations, this data could be re-used to address related issues and to drive new healthcare initiatives and policies.

 In addition to these points, data encryption ensures that all patient information is kept strictly private and protected at all times. International laws require that every organisation accessing patient information should adhere to strict confidentiality conditions.

Reference:

Mobile Health (mHealth) Market – Industry, Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts.

mHealth tools can increase patient engagement

mHealth tools can increase patient engagement

There are now 318,000 mHealth apps available in the market, that number has nearly doubled since 2015 driven by increased smartphone adoption and ongoing heavy investment in the digital health market. The global mobile health (mHealth) app market was estimated at $28.5 billion dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach $102.35 billion dollars by 2023. Health-related mobile applications and technologies are often known as mHealth and manage patient experiences.

A survey conducted every year from 2017 to 2019 by Rock Health revealed that:

  • 44% of the respondents tracked a health indicator using a digital tool in 2019, an increase from only 33% in 2017
  • 56% of the respondents shared health tracking data with their physicians in 2019, in comparison to only 46% on 2017

This integration of patient-collected data into patient-provider discussions represents an opportunity to use mobile technology to increase patient engagement and patient empowerment.

The impact of digital tracking tools is the greatest when such tools drive a positive behavioural change, incentivising the user to change the habits that impact their health outcomes, such as in the case with mental illness. This is called a “trackable condition, ” a situation in which a person is diagnosed with a condition that improves by tracking and altering relevant behaviours such as sleep, exercise, mood and medication compliance.

Recent research conducted by McMaster University revealed that cognitive behavioural therapy that connected therapists and patients through such modes as web-based applications, video-conferencing, email and texting, improved patients’ symptoms better than face to face.

A different survey conducted by Technology Advice stated that patient engagement through mHealth tools is one of the defining trends in U.S. healthcare.

The survey disclosed that:

  • 80% of patients say that digital services play an important role when choosing a physician
  • 60% of patients feel it’s important for a physician to follow up with them after an appointment
  • 80% of all patients would like to view their results and diagnosis online

Not surprisingly, 60% of millennials support the use of telehealth and 71% would like for their doctor to use mobile applications. However, young people are not the only ones embracing this type of technology. A senior health and technology survey revealed that over 90% of seniors have a health improvement goal and want to use mHealth tools to achieve it.

In spite of this growing trend, many healthcare providers have not yet fully embraced this technology, even though it is very important for patient engagement, and it is now seen as a vital part of the solution to solve many healthcare challenges. MHealth tools can help people self-manage their health and well-being, alert healthcare professionals in case of any changes in an individual’s condition, and support medication adherence. This technology also helps care providers deliver more efficient and cost-effective care. Now more than ever, healthcare authorities need to adopt new technologies to help meet these challenges and to keep up with their patients’ demands.

MHealth technology is here to stay, and healthcare providers can reap the benefits and build a better relationship with their patients sooner rather than later if they take the time to learn more about the different solutions available out there. For example, a good way of selecting an mHealth solution provider is by taking into consideration a manufacturer’s technical and clinical evaluation studies, randomised clinical trials. It is also important to look out for quality stamps such as CE Mark, ISO certifications and medical device certifications.

The Monsenso solution is a clinically-validated, CE Marked mHealth solution consisting of a smartphone app for patients and web portal for healthcare providers that is widely used in the prevention and treatment of common behavioural disorders such as depression and anxiety. It can also be configured to prevent and treat severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia. It is currently being used by over 1,000 patients across the globe and is highly valued by patients and healthcare providers.

References:
Mobile Health (mHealth) App Market – Industry Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts to 2023
Rock Health Survey 2017-2019

What Is the difference between a health app and an mhealth solution?

What Is the difference between a health app and an mhealth solution?

Over the past few years, mHealth solutions have begun to solve some of the problems that are ailing healthcare. MHealth is paving the way for better data management, doctor-patient communication, reduced hospital admissionsmedication adherence, and remote patient monitoring. 

MHealth solutions are improving outcomes in measurable, repeatable ways by connecting patients with their doctors.

In 2017 mHealth captured $23 billion in revenues, with an estimated growth rate of 35% annually over the next several years.

What is the difference between a health app and an mHealth solution?

Health apps are application programmes that offer health-related services for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other communication devices.

The most popular categories of health/wellness apps are: 

  • Sports and fitness activity tracking
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Weight loss coaching
  • Medication tracking
  • Sleep cycle
  • Stress and relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Menstrual period tracking
  • Pregnancy
  • Hospital selection and appointment tracking

Health apps can provide valuable information to users. However, it may be hard to determine the accuracy of the information provided and may not be easy to share this data with the user’s doctor.

MHealth or mobile health refers to the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, personal digital assistants and wireless infrastructure. It encompasses all applications of telecommunications and multimedia technologies for the delivery of healthcare and health information.

Why is mHealth used?

  • Provides education and awareness
  • Assists with diagnostic and treatment support
  • Enables remote data collection
  • Facilitates remote monitoring
  • Enables telemedicine
  • Supports chronic disease management
  • Support medication compliance

Numerous mHealth initiatives across the world have demonstrated the efficacy of using mobile devices to deliver better care in a cost-effective manner.

Many mHealth solutions offer different types of information sharing, such as data collection through patient self-assessments, electronic questionnaires, and sensor data. They can also offer emergency action plans and an encrypted messaging system that allows direct communication with the clinic.

Besides, many mHealth solutions are considered certified medical devices that have a proven record of helping healthcare professionals in the monitoring and treatment of their patients.

Both, health apps and mHealth solutions can both be used on-the-go. However, the main difference is that health apps are for consumers-only and mHealth solutions improve the collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals.

References:

mHealth (Mobile Healthcare) Ecosystem Market: 2017-2030 – $23 Billion Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts.

Health apps definition.

What is mHealth?

 

Big Data in treating mental disorders

Big Data in treating mental disorders

Big data in treating mental disorders explains how data is transforming the treatment of mental disorders and the overall life science industry. Monsenso’s mHealth solution shows how technology provides new ways to inform treatment and achieve scalability. This is a blog post written by Mads Frost PhD, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Monsenso

The challenge with mental health today

According to numerous analyses and forecasts conducted by several international organizations and authorities, mental health today is one of the biggest challenges for society and health budgets. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that mental disorders will be the greatest health burden for society in the coming years. This emphasizes the need for solutions to remedy this. Presently, technology is the best bet.

An example of the utilisation of technology to help overcome the burden of mental health for society is Monsenso. Monsenso is an innovation leader in mHealth solutions for the treatment of mental disorders. Monsenso helps support the treatment of mental disorders by inspiring and strengthening cooperation between patients and therapists.

Based on continuous research with leading experts in psychiatry, pervasive healthcare and data science, Monsenso has designed an innovative solution that fits into each patient’s life and helps them to better manage their disease as well as increasing the quality and effectiveness of treatment. It has been developed in a user-centred design approach, with patients, clinicians and relatives, to ensure that the solution is easy to apply and fits into the patient’s life and treatment.

The mental x-ray

Through daily self-assessment, clinical questionnaires, and collection of behavioural data from both sensors in modern Smartphone, wearables, and even voice analyses of patients’ voices, Monsenso provides the patient and the therapist with a detailed insight into the user’s mental health state. Through the application of advanced data analysis, indicators such as behavioural patterns, contexts and even forecasting future conditions and risk levels can be demonstrated – all with the purpose of gaining better insight into the patient’s mental health and providing an improved basis for treatment.

Generally, many organizations are fighting to realize mHealth’s full potential. According to a study where clinicians have been asked: “What is your most pressing information technology problem”, the answer that received the highest percentage of responses was, “turning data into action.” [1]

Psychiatry has previously used paper schemes to collect information from patients. However, but current technology provides access to a wide range of information that has not previously been available. This technology can be called the mental x-ray, in that using this technology can be used to see and monitor mental functioning with x-ray like precision and detail. This allows for early interventions and to help patients when they are in need. An example of this at work is the Monsenso based research into using voice analysis as an objective state marker for bipolar disorder . [2]

Paradigm shift in treatment: How do we achieve scalability?

To achieve the benefits of technology, it is necessary to adapt the clinical workflows. Psychiatry has a very traditional form of treatment where the patient meets the therapist and receives face-to-face treatment. The future brings more patients and fewer therapists – how do we scale this?

One possible solution is to optimising treatment is to use monitoring systems. These systems can rapidly identify which patients are in need of help, and which ones are well. In this way, clinicians’ time can be focused on patients who are in need.  Likewise, the systems can be more treatment-supporting, taking over the trivial and automatable tasks of the clinician, allowing them to spend their time on those with the greatest needs – the complex cases that technology cannot help. The last perspective – a paradigm shift in treatment – is to go from a reactive to a proactive approach. The proactive approach comes from gathering more detailed information, to lead to more informed decisions and earlier interventions. More information can help immediately notify both patients and clinicians when things start to go in the wrong direction, and need help to prevent potential hospitalisations. And the patients, who are well, can focus on life and not illness. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is not a trivial task to realise this.

How should we realise the potential of ‘Big Data’

On an overall level, there are a number of points that companies that are active in data-driven health technology should think about to thrive in complex health environments:

  • Find applications and services that bring tangible value to identifiable stakeholders – it must provide meaning and value to end users
  • Think on a global scale
  • Focus on solutions, not technology
  • Identify potential partners to create greater impact and find new value

Most of all, those who come from the outside into the healthcare domain must avoid the trap of seeing technology as something different from healthcare. Its greatest value will be how it integrates with healthcare systems and allows clinicians to provide better care for patients.

In some cases, technology will appear illusory: Personal contact between patient and therapist will always have a place in treatment, but data driven approaches can revolutionise the basis on which treatment is given.

Where are we going?

There are many possibilities that presents itself when exploring data driven approaches. I have  particularly emphasised ‘Context Aware Computing’ as one of the perspectives that are important to pursue. The goal is to use the context of the patients to provide the right intervention, to the right patient, at the right time, at the right place. This is not a trivial task, but extremely important for solutions like Monsenso to really help patients. The present systems are still relatively unintelligent in terms of achieving this, based on the amount of data available. It is difficult to know the context of what the collected data in the system is based on – what experiences and thoughts the patients have.

[1]  Top 5 industry challenges of 2016 By Aubrey Westgate, November 30, 2015  http://managedhealthcareexecutive.modernmedicine.com/managed-healthcare-executive/news/top-5-industry-challenges-2016?page=0,0

[2]  VOICE ANALYSIS AS AN OBJECTIVE STATE MARKER IN BIPOLAR DISORDER. M Faurholt-Jepsen, J Busk, M Frost, M Vinberg, EM Christensen, O Winther, JE Bardram, and LV Kessing. Translational Psychiatry, 2016. (ISSN: 2158-3188) (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ tp.2016.123), vol: 6, issue: 7, 2016