Innovations That Matter

94 per cent of patients in the study said that being able to access care by texting made them feel better | Photo source Kev Costello on Unsplash

Text messaging improves community psychiatric care outcomes

Health & Wellbeing

Patients reported feeling better and were very comfortable using the service, often texting clinicians multiple times a day

Spotted: A randomised, controlled trial found that adding text message communications to intensive community psychotherapy programmes appeared to improve illness management and reduce the severity of paranoid thoughts. With coronavirus continuing to interrupt the provision of regular healthcare, the text messaging was a quick and easy means of improving the amount of care that was available to patients. Very little training is required, making it easy for clinicians to add the strand of care to their current programmes.

A team of researchers from the department of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College and the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle, created the study, which followed a team of mental health clinicians for three months. The scientists monitored the clinical activities on a weekly basis and tracked all mobile messaging with patients. The patients’ wellness was assessed at the start of the trial and then three and six months after the use of text messaging programme.

As a means for strengthening the support available to mental health care teams with little to no extra cost, the trial appeared successful. The vast majority of text messaging contact began from the patients, and 94 per cent said that being able to access care in such a consistent manner made them feel better. The team now plans to set up a much larger study of the programme.

From wearables that track heart and lung rates, to biosensors that track the content of a wearer’s sweat, healthcare treatments and preventative measures are increasingly tech-based. Springwise recently spotted a hypertension tracking app that works offline to help clinicians working in remote locations, and a prescription video game treatment for ADHD.

Written By: Keely Khoury

Explore more: Health and Wellbeing Innovations | Computing & Tech Innovations

Email: William.J.Hudenko@Dartmouth.edu

Website: home.dartmouth.edu

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