New research to study if phone usage can detect mental health relapse.
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new research programme to understand if there are links with phone usage to detect and predict relapse in people suffering from a serious mental illness (SMI).
The new study is to take place at the Trust as part of the REST (Relapse Evaluation using Smartphone Technology) study where participants will install the Discovery app on their smartphone. The app gathers information about how the phone is being used, such as how often it is picked up, or gestures such as swipes and taps. It does not record the content and participants will also be asked for permission to gather specific information from their medical records.
The aim of the study, which is being run by UCL, is to discover whether the way in which someone interacts with their phone remains the same, or changes, if they start to relapse. If it does change, it could act as an early warning sign of relapse and potentially in the future this could help with the provision of timely support, before crisis point is reached.
The smartphone app being tested is called Discovery and it was developed by Mindstrong Health, an American healthcare company. The app uses digital phenotyping to better understand how human-computer interactions patterns can function as a continuous measure of brain function.
The app will passively collect metadata (e.g., swipes, taps, relative location, and timestamps of ingoing/outgoing calls or text messages) for a year. Participants will complete short monthly assessments of memory and cognition via the app, plus a telephone assessment of relapse indicators (e.g., hospitalisation, medication non-compliance).
Relapse events will also be assessed from objective clinical data collected from different NHS sites over the follow-up period and smartphone metadata will be used to construct digital phenotypes (biomarker patterns) to predict relapse events.
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