Parco dei Tigli Psychiatric Clinic | Italy
Title: Mobile apps reduce costs and improve outcomes of bipolar disorder: Illusion or reality?
Biography: Giuseppe Borgherini
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a mental illness which affects 2.7 % of population worldwide and can have devasting effects on individual health including alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide.
Treatment adherence is a frequent problem in BD (60 % of bipolar is not adherent to medications), causing poor quality of life, high morbidity and mortality. This aspect is consistently predictive of a number of negative outcomes in bipolar samples, and the discontinuation of mood stabilizers places these patients at high risk for relapse. With continued increases in smartphone ownership (4.4 bilioni nel 2017), researchers and clinicians are investigating the use of this technology to enhance the management of chronic illnesses such as (BD). Smartphones can be used to deliver interventions and psychoeducation, supplement treatment, and enhance therapeutic reach in BD, as apps are cost-effective, accessible, anonymous, and convenient. While the evidence-based development of BD apps is in its infancy, there has been an explosion of publicly available apps. However, the opportunity for mHealth to assist in the self-management of BD is only feasible if apps are of appropriate quality. In its Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020, the WHO recommended “the promotion of self-care, for instance, through the use of electronic and mobile health technologies.” And the UK National Health Service (NHS) website NHS Choices carries a short list of online mental-health resources, including a few apps, that it has formally endorsed. The evidence supporting the use of such apps is building. A 2013 review identified more than 1,500 depression-related apps in commercial app stores but just 32 published research papers on the subject. Other shadow on app use in BD regards data protection and accurate scientific information often neglected. Recently a smartphone app that monitors subtle qualities of a person's voice during everyday phone conversations shows promise for detecting early signs of mood changes in people with bipolar disorder, a University of Michigan team reports. Another intriguing study was more recently performed by Prof. Vieta at Barcelona University with the aim to develop and validate a smartphone application to monitor symptoms and signs and empower the self-management of bipolar disorder, offering customized embedded psychoeducation contents, in order to identify early symptoms and prevent relapses and hospitalizations.