Starting off the news for nurses this week is a look at a study on the best way to communicate and help patients manage chronic illnesses like mental illness. In the past, much has been made about the ability of smartphones and apps to help mental illness patients track their mood, stability and even seek help. The new study, though, says that dedicated apps may not be the best option.

Cell Phone Use for Mental Health

Nurse Texting Cell PhoneThe study was conducted in collaboration between Clemson and Indiana Universities along with the Centerstone Research Institute. They gathered information from a survey of over three hundred mental health patients about their cell phone usage and patterns.

The study found that the group’s cell phone ownership matched that of the general public but that they were more inclined to share or loan each other their cell phones. Also, the individuals surveyed were much more likely to use texting to communicate and not as likely to download or use apps. This means that individual texting interventions and wellness checks might be the best way to communicate and remotely manage these patients.

Simpler Telehealth Interventions

Nurses involved with all aspects of patient care, whether in the mental health arena or not, should take this study as a guide to develop remote and telehealth interventions that meet the technology capabilities of the patients involved rather than forcing them into using tools they are either uncomfortable using or won’t use. Technology is great and offers great possibilities to help combat many health woes but only if the patients have access to them and are able to use the technology effectively.

Check out the article and the study published in the Journal “Personal and Ubiquitous Computing” for more information. Maybe there’s a need for a specific nursing research study on this topic since we often monitor and manage these programs.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Treating Opioid Overdoses in the Community and Episode 334.

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