Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel have developed a new smartphone app which promises to significantly improve the quality of care given to mentally ill patients by detecting changes in the behavioral patterns and sending the data to doctors in real time.
The researchers tested the app by installing it on the smartphones of 20 patients who were suffering from bipolar, unipolar/depressive, or schizo-affective disorders while a control group of 20 healthy people was also recruited.
The app recorded data from patients' phones over a period of six months and sent it to computers that made use of advanced algorithms to detect changes in patients' sleep, communication, mobility, and vocal patterns.
"The diagnosis of mental health disease is based only on behavioral patterns. n some cases, a patient is discharged from the hospital into a vacuum, with no idea how to monitor his or her new state of mind. Because most people own smartphones today, we thought, 'Why not harness the smartphone, a reservoir of daily activities, to monitor behavioral patterns?'", lead researcher Dr Uri Nevo said.