Arlington, Va. — In January, Dr. April Foreman, a rural licensed psychologist, with a small group of committed Kansas mental health professionals, began tracking their patients' moods through their mobile phones. Working with HealthCentral (www.HealthCentral.com), a collection of condition-specific health and wellness sites, Dr. Foreman started using Mood 24/7 (
www.mood247.com), a mobile and online tool to help track daily moods, developed by HealthCentral based on technology licensed from Johns Hopkins University. Along with her team at Four County Mental Health Center, in Coffeyville, Kan., Foreman has been helping patients and their treatment team use the data that patients collect about their moods to respond to their feelings of depression. Mood 24/7 uses text messages and a secure website to help people log and track their daily moods. Individuals sign up to Mood 24/7 securely and select a time to receive daily text messages asking for mood ratings on a scale of one to ten. The individual's numeric text message responses, together with optional notes adding context, are added to a personal mood chart that the individual can share with doctors and loved ones. Dr. Foreman has been using this tool since January, after having met Chris Hall, Director of Clinical Platforms at HealthCentral, via Twitter. The conversation revolved around how to best leverage technology to better mental health, particularly for underserved populations, like those in rural Kansas. Recent data collected by HealthCentral suggests that her region in Kansas is one of the biggest early adopters of this new approach to mental healthcare.
"The beauty of this, what I really love about it, is that we are able to get these amazing results with no extra costs to our agency or our patients - and it's easier and more convenient," says Dr. Foreman. "The technology allows me to know so much more about patients' day to day functioning, and to make more responsive and accurate choices about how to approach treatment."
Dr. Foreman explains that using a tool like Mood 24/7 is highly engaging for her patients. "We know that patients who track their mood are more likely to understand what affects them, and to use that insight to feel better, faster. But when you use traditional pencil and paper methods to do this, only 1 in 10 patients will actually follow through." Dr. Foreman estimates that over 70 percent of her patients follow through on tracking their moods when they use a mobile phone texting tool which represents a huge improvement.
"Mood 24/7 gives patients and doctors a way to connect beyond the boundaries of a hospital or doctor's office, enabling them to take control of their well-being on their terms," says Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO of HealthCentral. "Working with Dr. April Foreman and her team serves as a great example of how this technology can truly help connect every patient, despite his or her location, to the help and resources they need."