Despite growing interest in mobile mental health and utilization of smartphone technology to monitor psychiatric symptoms, there remains a lack of knowledge both regarding patient ownership of smartphones and their interest in using such to monitor their mental health.
To provide data on psychiatric outpatients’ prevalence of smartphone ownership and interest in using their smartphones to run applications to monitor their mental health.
We surveyed 320 psychiatric outpatients from four clinics around the United States in order to capture a geographically and socioeconomically diverse patient population. These comprised a state clinic in Massachusetts (n=108), a county clinic in California (n=56), a hybrid public and private clinic in Louisiana (n=50), and a private/university clinic in Wisconsin (n=106).
Smartphone ownership and interest in utilizing such to monitor mental health varied by both clinic type and age with overall ownership of 62.5% (200/320), which is slightly higher than the average United States’ rate of ownership of 58% in January 2014. Overall patient interest in utilizing smartphones to monitor symptoms was 70.6% (226/320).
These results suggest that psychiatric outpatients are interested in using their smartphones to monitor their mental health and own the smartphones capable of running mental healthcare related mobile applications.