Columbus, Ohio—A recent study of mental health clinicians shows that 73% would find mobile apps useful in their practice1. The participants were primarily interested in apps that would collect and aggregate data between visits. In addition, 68% agreed that integrating additional data into the treatment process would improve the mental health clinical profession as a whole1.

In the mental health field specifically, it’s difficult to quantify patient outcome. To evaluate the status of health, clinicians look at quality of life/wellbeing, cognitive/emotional health, behavior, physical health, and social/interpersonal satisfaction2. Most of these metrics are qualitative and highly dependent on the feedback and perception of the patient.

This is precisely why a mobile app that captures patient data is so interesting to nearly ¾ of mental health professionals.

Finally, a Baseline

Many patient monitoring tools track hard data: heart rate, # of steps per day, caloric intake to name a few. Apps crunch the numbers to display charts, graphs, and give us a view of performance over time. The same can be done with soft data—in this case, patient feedback. There are some clever user interface designs that leverage elements like colors, emoticons, and sliding scales to track moods, feelings, and overall well-being. By collecting qualitative input in a quantitative way, we can provide mental health professionals with the same charts and graphs that we see used in patient monitoring tools that can ultimately provide a baseline for care.

Actionable Information

Longitudinal data is a dataset that tracks the same type of information on the same subjects at multiple points in time. This is important to healthcare professionals because it gives them trendlines. For example, if a provider can see that a patient consistently records low values between 2-5pm, it may prompt them to recommend an increased dosage or an alternate medication schedule. This is a direct correlation to patient outcome.

The formula of turning qualitative input into quantitative output is certainly not limited to mental health. Almost every aspect of healthcare has a qualitative component. As providers become more open to digital patient tools, healthcare innovators are better able to deliver something with real value: a clearer picture of the patient’s outcome.

 

1) http://www.klick.com/health/news/blog/mhealth/mental-health-clinicians-clamoring-for-mobile-apps/

2) https://www.atsu.edu/research/pdfs/mental_hlth_outcomes.pdf

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.