It has been developed by researchers from UPV and INCLIVA. Among its advantages, it is very simple for patients to use, allows better monitoring of their progress and helps to adjust the medication more precisely.Researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria INCLIVA, of the Hospital Clínico de Valencia have developed ReMindCare, a smartphone app that helps improve the evaluation and treatment of patients with psychosis. The app, which is already being used in the First Aid Unit for Psychotic Episodes of the Hospital Clínico de Valencia is very simple for patients to use. It allows better monitoring of their progress and helps to adjust the medication more precisely. It is a pioneer Project on an international level, given that it is the first time that this type of technology has been incorporated into daily clinical practice.
“The use of apps may represent a huge improvement in treating patients and preventing relapses. However, until now, there is no study that could have made use of these technologies in the daily clinical practice, only in clinical trials with a set duration. That is where ReMindCare stands out as a unique approach in the world,” noted Dr. Julio Sanjuán, coordinator of the Grupo de Investigación de Psiquiatría (Psychiatry Research Group) of INCLIVA and the First Aid Unit for Psychotic Episodes at the Hospital Clínico de Valencia.
ReMindCare has been designed and developed by a team from the Instituto de Instrumentación para la Imagen Molecular (I3M, Institute for Molecular Imaging Instrumentation, joint center of the UPV and CSIC). The application reports the patients’ clinical status through brief daily and weekly evaluations. This information is obtained from the patients’ responses to a standardized form proposed by clinical experts, aimed at the early detection of situations that may require medical attention.
More adequate medication and better service
“The application is much more robust than previous versions. In addition, it allows patients to introduce text information and obtain progress figures for their state of mind and commitment to taking the medication directly from the telephone,” pointed out Ignacio Blanquer, coordinator of the team of the I3M Institute (UPV-CSIC).
The graphs provide objective information that helps to guide the patient’s progress and allows the medication to be most adequately adjusted. In addition, the app incorporates a system of alerts, with which it is possible to detect possible deterioration in the patient’s health condition, and sooner. It has an emergency consultation button, which allows the patient to quickly contact their reference doctor in case of deterioration, by just requesting a consultation. Thus, it is able to “reduce psychotic relapses, hospitalizations and emergency visits, as well as the costs associated with them,” pointed out Julio Sanjuán.
In addition, as Ignacio Blanquer pointed out, this possibility to request an emergency consultation via telephone provides the patients with an additional channel of communication with the faculty, strengthening the doctor-patient bond.
With ReMindCare, the patient feels much more accompanied and taken care of during the period between visits and can remember and precisely explain how they are feeling. For doctors, if offers more information about the progress of the person that is being treated. Not just the information in the visit, but all of the information that is periodically recorded in the app.
Another of the app’s advantages is the improved communication between professionals, given that the information contained may be attached to the patient’s electronic clinical record, and be accessible to any professional involved in their treatment.
From the Clínico de Valencia to other hospitals in Spain
Currently, ReMindCare is used as another tool to treat patients with psychoses in the First Aid Unit of Psychotic Episodes of the Hospital Clínico de Valencia. Since September 2018, the app has been offered to a total of 84 patients, of which 61 have logged in to use it. Among them, currently 38 are using it, 15 no longer use it, and 8 have registered. The average months using the app is 9.78 and the average commitment (or response from the patients to the questionnaires) is 83.1%. The use of the app has shown an improvement in serving the patients with psychosis and a drop in relapses.
“Based on the interaction with the patients, we will continue making improvements to the app in order to improve its functioning. In addition, our goal is for the app to be used in other units. In this regard, we are collaborating with different hospitals in Spain, like Hospital de Basurto, to start to use this system in other services,” noted Sanjuán.
In this regard, last February 18, INCLIVA organized a Workshop of First Aid for Psychosis intended for a selected group of psychiatrists, both in the Comunidad Valenciana and in the Basque Country, with the objective of informing them how to carry out a pilot test using RemindCare.
The first results from using the app will be presented at the international level in the Annual Conference on Schizophrenia of the International Research Society (SIRS), which will take place in Florence on April 4 to 8.