Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Number of Utah Residents Suffering From Mental Illness is Staggering. What Is the State Doing to Help?

December 30, 2014
by
Menu
The Number of Utah Residents Suffering From Mental Illness is Staggering. What Is the State Doing to Help?
Utah SmartCare allows mental health patients the ability to stay connected to their healthcare providers in between professional visits. John Moore/Getty Images
Hint: It involves a smartphone.

The statistics about mental health in Utah are shocking: 22.3 percent of the adult population in the state report experience with a mental illness, and the depression and suicide rates tower over the already-frightening national averages.

This data is the sole inspiration behind Ginger.io’s collaboration with the Association for Utah Community Health (with grant-funding from Cambia Health Foundation) to produce the app, Utah SmartCare.

The app offers questionnaires to gauge the mental state of 500 patients in-between therapy sessions (most of whom suffer from comorbid mental and physical illnesses and 80 percent of whom live at or below the poverty line) — something that is turning out to be an effective means of patient care. “This will enable us to respond more quickly and avoid more complex interventions,” says Juergen Korbanka, executive director of Wasatch Mental Health in Utah, in an interview with Inquisitr.

Additionally, the app tracks user’s movements, who he or she talks to on the phone, how much he or she slept and any other apps being used. This information, paired with the answers to questionnaires, can help draw correlations and will “allow us to better assess how our clients are doing between appointments and catch any potential problems earlier, leading to better clinical outcomes,” says Brandon Hatch, executive director of Davis Behavioral Health.

By creating an algorithm for each patient, Utah SmartCare will be able to report to mental health professionals if a user’s mental state declines between sessions. “Up until this point, we haven’t had the technology to effectively measure how patients are feeling outside of a care setting,” says cofounder and CEO of Ginger.io, Dr. Anmol Madon.

MORE: If Pharmacies Are Closed, This App Helps Diabetes Locate Much-Needed Medication

Comments