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Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Jun 1;70(6):507-510. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Effect of Mobile Health on In-person Service Use Among People With Serious Mental Illness.

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BRiTE Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle (Ben-Zeev, Buck, Hallgren); Health Services Research and Development, Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Seattle (Buck); Dartmouth Institute, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and Westat Inc., Rockville, Maryland (Drake).



This study examined whether mobile health (mHealth) affects the use of in-person services among people with serious mental illness.


This randomized comparative effectiveness trial evaluated minutes of service use among 163 participants for 3 months before, during, and after exposure to mHealth or clinic-based care.


mHealth and clinic-based care participants used fewer services during the intervention (9% and 14%, respectively) and follow-up (2% and 12%) periods than during the preintervention phase. During treatment, mHealth treatment responders (participants who experienced recovery gains and maintained them at follow-up) reduced service use more than nonresponders (12% vs. 10%). Postintervention, service use by mHealth treatment responders continued to drop (an additional 11%), whereas service use by mHealth nonresponders increased by 8%.


mHealth and clinic-based illness management interventions may reduce the need for other in-person services among people with serious mental illness, particularly among mHealth users who experience sustained recovery.


Community mental health services; Computer technology


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