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

Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Jun 1;70(6):507-510. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201800542. Epub 2019 Apr 5.


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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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%.

Conclusions: 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.

Keywords: Community mental health services; Computer technology.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / methods
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Time Factors