Integrating Smartphone Technology in Behavioral Healthcare

Luxton, D. D., McCann, R. A., Bush, N. E., Mishkind, M. C., & Reger, G. M. (2011). mHealth for mental health: Integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 42(6), 505-512.

With smartphone ownership quickly becoming commonplace in many countries, the number of available applications (apps) has continued to soar.  A growing number of these, according to Luxton, McCann, Bush, Mishkind, and Reger (2011), are designed to facilitate mental health education, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Examples include apps that track symptoms and if indicated offer a direct connection to a support hotline, provide video-teleconference communication between clients and providers, record sleep patterns, teach breathing exercises, and assess substance abuse and addiction.  Other apps work with external hardware devices, such as a heart rate monitor, to track physiological signals and provide biofeedback.  The authors note that this technology requires that users and providers take action to assure privacy and data security.

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More information on integrating smartphone technology in behavioral healthcare is available from The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).