Thursday, October 31, 2013

There's an app for that!

Doctors Look To Phone Apps To Treat Mental Illness

Dr. John Kane is a professor of psychiatry at Hofstra University. He directs the Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research in Schizophrenia. Up till now, he says, mental health care has been slow to join the emerging field of mobile health, or mHealth. But things are changing. Recent mass shootings have drawn attention—and grant money—to the need to address severe mental illness quickly.
"The tragedy is that people with schizophrenia are not inherently violent."
Kane thinks using apps to intervene early will limit the problems that come with untreated psychosis—including crisis medical care. Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health show one in a hundred Americans have schizophrenia.
"The costs are enormous. So if you look at a visit to an emergency room or a hospitalization, we’re talking about tremendous costs."
But the goal of the doctors working on the FOCUS app goes beyond averting trips to the hospital.
Again, Dr. Dror Ben-Zeev: "Our objective is recovery and high functioning.'

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