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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00652

Using a smartphone app to identify clinically relevant behavior trends via symptom report, cognition scores, and exercise levels: a case series

  • 1Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, United States

The use of smartphone apps for research and clinical care in mental health has become increasingly popular, especially within youth mental health. In particular, digital phenotyping, the monitoring of data streams from a smartphone to identify proxies for functional outcomes like steps, sleep, and socialness is of interest due to the ability to monitor these multiple relevant indications of clinically symptomatic behavior. However, scientific progress in this field has been slow due to high heterogeneity among smartphone apps and lack of reproducibility. In this paper, we discuss how our division utilized a smartphone app to retrospectively identify clinically relevant behavior in individuals with psychosis by measuring survey scores (symptom report), games (cognition scores), and step count (exercise levels). Further, we present specific cases of individuals and how the relevance of these data streams varied between them. We found there was high variability between participants and that each individual’s relevant behavior patterns relied heavily on unique data streams. This suggests that digital phenotyping has high potential to augment clinical care, as it could provide an efficient and individualized mechanism of identifying relevant clinical implications even if population level models are not yet possible.

Keywords: smartphone, Apps, Technology, Mental Health, Mobile phones

Received: 27 Feb 2019; Accepted: 13 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

John Gleeson, Australian Catholic University, Australia

Reviewed by:

Carmel M. Loughland, Hunter New England Health, Australia
Simon D'Alfonso, The University of Melbourne, Australia  

Copyright: © 2019 Wisniewski, Henson and Torous. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. John Torous, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, Massachusetts, United States, jtorous@bidmc.harvard.edu