University of California Davis' Early Diagnosis and Preventive Treatment (EDAPT) Clinic is launching a study in partnership with mobile health company Ginger.io. The 12-month study follow 120 young people who are in the early stages of psychotic illness. Only youth who are enrolled in the UC Davis or City of Sacramento (EDAPT) clinics are eligible to participate.
UC Davis received $588,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to fund this study.
All of the children in the study will receive the Ginger.io app that passively collects data from users' phones including information on their movement throughout the day, call patterns, and texting patterns. Users can also actively record information about how they are feeling each day.
If the app senses that something is off with the user, it will automatically notify the user's family and physician. This system makes it easier for physicians to gain insights into how a patient is doing on a day-to-day basis and helps users recall information from the week as sessions.
“We are trying to identify the early warning signals that someone is struggling, so we can intervene earlier and hopefully prevent relapse,” Tara Niendam, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of operations for the EDAPT Clinic said in a statement. “If an individual is having a bad week, we can reach out to them quickly, rather than waiting for them to call us or come in to the clinic for their next appointment.”
Niendam added that there were many warning signals that the study could identify. One metric might be whether forgetting a dose of medication could trigger an increase in symptoms or how the number of arguments a user has with family members affects his or her mood.
If study participants do not have smartphones, UC Davis will provide phones via a partnership with T-Mobile USA.
Ginger.io's spokesperson Stephanie Wilson told MobiHealthNews in an email that the app is "currently part of the care solutions at Kaiser Permanente and Novant Health and contributes to core research at UCSF, Cincinnati Children’s, and MIT Medical. Ginger.io also recently launched Mood Matters, making the technology directly accessible to people living with depression."