Enhancing behavioral health treatment and crisis management through mobile ecological momentary assessment and SMS messaging

Altarum Institute, San Antonio, USA.
Health Informatics Journal (Impact Factor: 0.57). 12/2012; 18(4):294-308. DOI: 10.1177/1460458212445349
Source: PubMed


Many veterans returning from service in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or mild traumatic brain injury. Treating these conditions can be challenging because of high rates of relapse and associated memory impairments. We report on a pilot study that assessed the utility of mobile health (mHealth) technologies, including personal digital assistant-based ecological momentary assessment and two-way interactive text (SMS) messaging, for providing treatment feedback to clinicians, encouraging and motivating veterans throughout treatment, and monitoring participants for relapse after treatment discharge. The results of the pilot suggest that mHealth technologies are feasible adjuncts to traditional mental treatment in the veteran population. Additional work is needed to establish the degree of clinical and economic value.

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    ABSTRACT: Increased prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been associated with service members and veterans who completed combat deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Management of persistent post-concussive symptoms (PCS) has been a challenge to healthcare providers throughout the Military and Veterans Healthcare Systems, as well as civilian healthcare providers, due in part to the chronic nature of symptoms, co-occurrence of behavioral health disorders such as depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders, and fear of a potential stigma associated with psychiatric diagnoses and behavioral health treatment(s). This systematic review examined non-pharmacologic behavioral health interventions and cognitive rehabilitation interventions for PCS in military service members and veterans with a history of mild TBI (mTBI). Six electronic databases were searched with specific term limitations, identifying 121 citations. Ultimately, 19 articles met criteria for inclusion in this systematic review. Studies were broadly categorized into four subtypes: psychoeducational interventions, cognitive rehabilitation, psychotherapeutic approaches, and integrated behavioral health interventions for PCS and PTSD. The review provides an update of the empirical evidence for these four types of interventions for PCS in active duty service members and veterans. Recommendations for future research are discussed, including the need to expand and improve the limited evidence basis on how to manage persistent post-concussive symptoms in this population.
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