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BIDMC Psychiatry Digital Care Assessment Research and Education (D-CARE) Program

Mission

The mission of BIDMC Psychiatry Digital Care Assessment Research and Education (D-CARE) Program is to be a leading program for education, research, and innovation in digital mental health. D-CARE will serve as new a resource for knowledge, experience, and development of digital mental health tools which can be used to advance research, clinical care, and public health.

Background

A major paradigm shift in all of medicine is the increasing use of digital, mobile, and connected platforms for enhancing many aspects of health care, including diagnosis, monitoring and adjunctive extensions of clinic-based treatments. Mental health is rapidly realizing the potential of digital health as psychiatry patients are increasingly connected with smartphones, turning online for healthcare resources, and willing to engage in remote care. Mobile technology is certainly not a panacea, but rather a new tool for psychiatry, and like any new tool offers many opportunities as well as challenges.

BIDMC is known worldwide for its excellence in clinical care and medical innovation. As these new digital tools for healthcare continue to expand, there is an opportunity for BIDMC to share its experience and knowledge in the mobile and connected mental health space. Psychiatry and cognitive neurosciences offer a promising area for digital health as smartphones and connected devices have the potential to both collect and monitor symptom information as well as deliver real time evidence based interventions. Our program seeks to evaluate that potential and conduct the scientific and clinical research to learn what digital data actually means for psychiatry, how these new mobile tools can impact clinical care, and how digital technology can be integrated into the care delivery system. We seek to involve patients and families in all our efforts and ensure the tools we create and questions we answer are relevant and useful.

Immediate Objectives

We will form a collaborative center between the BIDMC departments of psychiatry, cognitive neurology, primary care, and clinical informatics to leverage combined expertise and create target goals for research, education, and clinical care.

Using donor funds from the Myrtlewood Foundation, we will build a scalable, trans-diagnostic, and patient -centric smartphone platform that can be used for academic clinical research. The platform will be composed of interchangeable modules and initially will include a sleep, mood, fitness, and cognition targeted features. The goals of this platform will be for applications in Learning, Assessing, Managing and Preventing (LAMP) mental health problems using smartphones and wearable devices. The LAMP platform (see figure below) will be flexible and transparent and can be shared with external collaborators conducting mobile health research across disciplines.

Ongoing Objectives

We will expand our mobile platform to become a standard research tool for mobile health research and develop broad collaborations with other academic medical centers. We will also add new modules and improve existing ones to ensure our platform remains a trusted, validated, and secure tool for clinical research.

Through our own research and with collaborators, we will study news streams of data from mobile and connected devices including active data, passive data, and biosensors for physiological data as well as social media data. Our goal will be to produce high quality research in mobile health and share our results with researchers, clinicians, policy makers, families and patients alike.

We will also host a yearly conference that will bring together leaders in the mobile neuropsychiatric space. We will also provide educational seminars for the public and medical school audiences, as well as explore the ethical, legal, moral, and professional aspects of mobile health technologies and data collection.

Collaborations

Faculty and Staff