Mobile Behavioral Sensing for Outpatients and Inpatients With Schizophrenia

Psychiatr Serv. 2016 May 1;67(5):558-61. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2015 Dec 15.


Objective: This study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of behavioral sensing among individuals with schizophrenia.

Methods: Nine outpatients and 11 inpatients carried smartphones for two- or one-week periods, respectively. Device-embedded sensors (accelerometers, microphone, global positioning system, WiFi, and Bluetooth) collected behavioral data and ascertained the patients' location, activity, and exposure to human speech as they went about their day. Participants rated this approach by completing usability and acceptability measures.

Results: Sensing successfully captured individuals' activity, time spent proximal to human speech, and time spent in various locations. Participants felt comfortable using the sensing system (95%), and most were interested in receiving feedback (65%) and suggestions (65%). Approximately 20% reported that sensing made them upset. One-third of inpatients were concerned about their privacy, but no outpatients expressed this concern.

Conclusions: Mobile behavioral sensing was a feasible, acceptable, and informative approach for data collection among outpatients and inpatients with schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Movement*
  • Outpatients / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States