Article Excerpt: 5/10/2013 – Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine recently reported results from an NIH-funded trial using the Zephyr BioHarness wireless vital signals monitor to track cardiovascular and respiratory changes in cocaine users. Not only is the monitor sensitive to heart and breathing rate changes following cocaine exposure in those addicted to cocaine, it can actually generate more data and at a lower price than typical hospital monitors. The monitors may also work remotely to monitor people recently discharged from care facilities to help prevent relapse. The research team plans to continue studies with the BioHarness to determine its potential application for helping people to quit smoking and fight obesity.
Dallery, J., Cassidy, R.N., & Raiff, B.R. (2013). Single-Case Experimental Designs to Evaluate Novel Technology-Based Health Interventions. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(2): e22.
Single-case experiments offer excellent solutions to address the challenges associated with testing new technology-based interventions. This paper provides an introduction to single-case techniques and highlights advances in developing and evaluating single-case experiments, which help ensure that treatment outcomes are reliable, replicable, and generalizable. These advances include quality control standards, heuristics to guide visual analysis of time-series data, effect size calculations, and statistical analyses. They also include experimental designs to isolate the active elements in a treatment package and to assess the mechanisms of behavior change. The paper concludes with a discussion of issues related to the generality of findings derived from single-case research and how generality can be established through replication and through analysis of behavioral mechanisms.
Article Excerpt: 5/7/2013 – Motivational interviewing, a therapeutic approach that has yielded much success in substance abuse and addiction programs, is a growing trend in the industry. Mobile apps and other technology-based tools are also on the rise in mental and behavioral health care, providing a unique method for implementing motivational interviewing techniques. Motivational interviewing puts patients in the driver’s seat, and that makes digital tools an ideal solution for that personalized approach. Mental health advocates worry insurance companies are starting to lean heavily on these tools to save money and justify funding cuts for mental health services. But the appeal and shifting demand for self-monitoring products is already here, and digital tools are providing an effective complement to traditional services.
Article Excerpt: 5/2/2013 – Increasingly, mobile devices are creating new access points in patient care. Online addiction programs like the one offered by Lionrock Recovery are reducing barriers to care for those struggling with alcohol and drug addictions by offering options that are less costly, time-consuming, and public. At the forefront of efforts to provide mental health care via apps is the military. Reaching a population that’s technologically savvy, but reluctant to seek emotional support is what’s driving the military’s research and development into mobile health apps. The National Center for Telehealth & Technology, also known as T2, which is part of the Department of Defense and the Military Health System, offers nearly a dozen apps on its website that provide veterans and their families with free, anonymous support. Based on clinical research, the apps are “designed to fill what we call the ‘white spaces’ in between appointments” or at least provide an entry point into self-awareness that will lead to professional care, says T2 spokesman Joe Jimenez.
Article Excerpt: 4/20/2013 – An recent article published in BMC Psychiatry reports a mixed-methods study designed to explore young Australian men’s attitudes and behavior towards mental health and technology use to inform the development of online mental health services for young men. From a national online survey of 486 males (aged 16 to 24) and 17 focus groups involving 118 males (aged 16 to 24), results indicated that young men are less likely to seek professional help for themselves, citing a preference for self-help and action-oriented strategies instead. Most survey participants reported that they have sought help for a problem online and were satisfied with the help they received. The key challenge for online mental health services is to design interventions specifically for young men that are action-based, focus on shifting behavior and stigma, and not simply about increasing mental health knowledge. Furthermore, interventions should be user-driven, informed by young men’s views and everyday technology practices, and leverage the influence of peers.
Strayer, S.M., Heim, S.W., Rollins, L.K.,…Schorling, J.B. (2013). Improving smoking cessation counseling using a point-of-care health intervention tool (IT): From the Virginia Practice Support and Research Network (VaPSRN). Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 26(2), 116-125.
A novel, evidence-based software program for handheld computers was designed and hypothesized to improve clinicians’ ability to provide patient-tailored smoking cessation counseling at the point of care. The tool was evaluated using a validated before/after survey to measure physician smoking cessation counseling behaviors, knowledge, and comfort/self-efficacy. Participants included 17 physicians from a practice-based research network. After 4 months of use in direct patient care, physicians were more likely to advise patients to stop smoking and reported an increase in use of the “5 As” (ask, advise, assess, assist, arrange). Improved self-efficacy in counseling patients regarding smoking cessation was seen, as was increased comfort in providing follow-up to patients. Use of a handheld computer software tool improved smoking cessation counseling among physicians and shows promise for translating evidence about smoking cessation counseling into practice and educational settings.
Article Excerpt: 4/19/2013 – With funding from NIDA and the DOD, Zach Rosenthal, an assistant professor at Duke, is running virtual reality trials with individuals trying to recovery from drug addiction. These patients are hooked up to a virtual reality simulator and placed in a high-risk area where the researchers can slowly add cues to the environment (e.g., alcohol, drugs, paraphernalia), or change the environment itself, altering the situation based on each patient’s history. Rosenthal’s research employs a methodology called virtual reality cue reactivity. The idea is that, through this approach, people will develop coping mechanisms and utilize those strategies when confronted with a high-risk situation.
Article Excerpt: 4/15/2013 – The Centers for Disease Control is readying a feasibility study of conducting population health surveys via consumers’ smartphones. Initially, respondents reached on their phones through a text message would be asked to answer some basic demographic and general health questions, and specific questions about tobacco and alcohol use. Consumers would be contacted via a national random digit dial sample of phone numbers from cell phone exchanges. The target audience for the English-speaking survey is consumers 18 to 65 years old with a smartphone. They initially will receive a text message inviting them to participate and those who agree will receive messages with one survey question at a time.
Full Article: http://tinyurl.com/cw8jr49
Article Source: Health Data Management
Article Excerpt: 4/11/2013 – This week, MobiHealthNews co-hosted a special healthcare-themed Mobile Monday event in Boston to showcase some local mobile health startups. The five startups presented a diverse range of products tackling different challenges in mobile health. These included RxApps, a company leveraging SMS and responsive web as tools to improve patient compliance. Physicians can use RxApps with patients who have mental health conditions. The platform sends customized check-in messages via SMS and mobile that ask patients about their mood or weight, worded so patients can respond easily and quickly.
Full Article: http://tinyurl.com/d4d3ouo
Article Source: MobiHealthNews
Article Excerpt: 4/5/2013 – As military suicide numbers continue to rise, the Army believes that there is often enough information about risk factors available to prevent this act, but that this data is not integrated into one centralized dashboard where it can be used to intervene. The Army is working to roll out a ‘virtual soldier’ dashboard which is designed to alert leaders when it spots a combination of factors that the military has already identified as risk factors for suicide. For instance, if a soldier has previously been in an alcohol and substance abuse program, recently suffered a tragic loss, and is experiencing financial troubles, a flag would alert commanders to make efforts to protect the soldier. The Army plans to have a permanent version in place within the next two years, and it will warn commanders of potential suicide risks among soldiers in their command on an ongoing basis, but will also let them search for possible risk factors for an individual service member.
Full Article: http://tinyurl.com/cmlfwzv
Article Source: Federal News Radio