Digital Technology to Enhance Clinical Care of Early Psychosis

Abstract

Purpose of review

Despite considerable evidence supporting the clinical benefits of early intervention for psychosis, issues remain with access and maintenance of long-term recovery. As digital technology has advanced rapidly over recent decades, so too has recognition for its capacity to address the challenges in providing care for those with mental ill health. The current report provides an overview of research focusing on the use of digital technologies to enhance clinical care of people with early psychosis.

Recent findings

Research suggests that people with early psychosis use technology in a similar fashion to those in the general population, and there is interest in its use for mental health. Studies have primarily focused on smartphone apps and online interventions targeting self-management, psychosocial functioning, and supporting case management. Findings support feasibility and acceptability; however, evidence for the efficacy of digital approaches is yet to be established in early psychosis populations.

Summary

Whilst promising, findings in early psychosis are currently limited to a small number of studies at primarily pilot stages. More broadly, a number of challenges have been highlighted in digital mental health literature, including quality standards, the slow pace of research evaluation, difficulties with implementation and ethical considerations.

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Correspondence to Imogen H. Bell.

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Imogen H. Bell declares that she has no conflict of interest. Mario Alvarez-Jimenez declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Technology and its Impact on Mental Health Care

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Bell, I.H., Alvarez-Jimenez, M. Digital Technology to Enhance Clinical Care of Early Psychosis. Curr Treat Options Psych 6, 256–270 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40501-019-00182-y

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Keywords

  • Digital technology
  • mHealth
  • Online
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Early intervention