Review of Use and Integration of Mobile Apps Into Psychiatric Treatments
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Purpose of Review
Mental health practitioners should understand the features of current, publicly available apps; the features of novel, research apps; and issues behind the integration of mobile apps and digital health services into clinical workflows.
The review is based on a research literature and the authors’ clinical and healthcare administration experiences. Articles searched—on telepsychiatry, telemental health, mobile mental health, informatics, cellular phone, ambulatory monitoring, telemetry, and algorithms—were restricted to 2016 and 2017. Technologies are used in a variety of clinical settings, including patients with varying mental illness severity, social supports, and technological literacy. Good practices for evaluating apps, understanding user needs, and training and educating users can increase success rates. Ethics and risk management should be considered.
Mobile apps are versatile. Integrating apps into psychiatric treatment requires addressing both patient and clinical workflows, design and usability principles, accessibility, social concerns, and digital health literacy.
KeywordsMental health apps Smartphone apps Psychiatric services Telepsychiatry Clinical informatics Ambulatory monitoring
Special thanks to UC Davis Department of Psychiatry, the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine, and the Office of the Chief Health Informatics Officer at UCSF Health.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Steven Chan reports being financially compensated by North American Center for Continuing Medical Education, LLC for teaching.
Haley Godwin, Alvaro Gonzalez, Peter M. Yellowlees, and Donald M. Hilty each declare no potential conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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