Following from MindTech's contribution to the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013: Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence we were asked to submit aresearch priority for technologies, and this was as follows:

Research priority: Development and evaluation of innovative mHealth (mobile and connected health) interventions that assist recovery and relapse prevention in mental health conditions affecting hard to reach populations.

Background:

  • The recognition that mental healthcare is the area with potentially the most gain from effective m-Health interventions
  • The recognition that mental health conditions are the most prevalent type of long term condition, are typically recurrent in nature and go hand in hand with long-term physical health conditions.
  • The recognition that technology-assisted interventions could play a major role as self-management tools to help maintain recovery and prevent relapse

Projects should focus on the integration of sensor tracking data (e.g. mood tracking, voice and language analysis, activity monitoring etc) linking these data in real-time via mobile, tablet and worn devices to a range of personalised mHealth interventions to improve self-management including adherence support, CBT, peer support, social networking and video-conferencing. There should be a strong emphasis on co-design and user needs as a key driver.

The research should emphasise the needs of serious continuing mental health problems. Evaluations should be proportionate to the technology and may encompass feasibility, acceptability, data security and confidentiality, safety, clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Methodological research is required to investigate whether there acceptable alternatives, in addition to randomised controlled trials, for establishing more rapidly the efficacy and safety of mHealth interventions in clinical populations.

NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Cop-operative, October 2014

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