Principal Investigator: Jon-Kar Zubieta
Keywords: depression , anxiety , smartphone app Department: Psychiatry
IRB Number: 00098927
Specialty: Psychiatry
Sub Specialties: Mood Disorders
Recruitment Status: Not yet recruiting

Contact Information

zKolby zLeonardi

Brief Summary

HealthRhythms is a health technology start-up focused on the development of smartphone and web-based tools that track clinically meaningful behavioral health rhythms in order to both inform clinicians and to deploy highly personalized automated intervention advice to patients around the globe. We do this by capturing critical behavioral information -- from physical activity, technology use patterns, to social activity (including rate of speech, patterns of out-of-home activity, etc.) and more -- to provide a more complete picture of individuals’ behavioral health that leads to clinically actionable insight. Pioneered by a team of successful startup founders and leaders in tech, business, and medicine - including University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania physicians, MIT Media Lab and Cornell-trained technologists - HealthRhythms hopes to redefine how mental health is understood and managed in the 21st century.

The overarching goal of the present proposal is to refine HealthRhythms’ two existing technology pillars and develop and test a third interventional pillar in order to become a world leader in smartphone-based mental health technology.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in helping patients to stabilize their social rhythms through face-to-face treatment encounters, we will test the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of a program of highly personalized phone-based interventions that build on continuous behavioral data capture and contextual information about the user’s environment, derived from the smartphone, to create a program of user-specific suggestions for achieving and maintaining a sensed social rhythm regularity score equivalent to a score of 3.5 or greater on the self-report Social Rhythm Metric.7,8

Specifically, we will pilot-test the feasibility, acceptability, and utility of the product (phone app) that includes Rhythm Sensing, Rhythm Trending, and Rhythm Stabilization aspects in a sample of 45 patients with mood and/or anxiety disorders. 

Inclusion Criteria

Between ages of 18 and 65

Meets criteria for a current or past mood and/or anxiety disorder, as defined by the DSM-5 

Participants must be on a stable medication; however, changes in dosage will be allowed during the course of the study

Ability and willingness to give informed, written consent

Exclusion Criteria

Severe or poorly controlled concurrent medical disorders that may cause confounding depressive symptoms (e.g., untreated hypothyroidism or lupus) or require medications that could cause depressive symptoms (e.g., high doses of beta blockers or alpha interferon)

Meets criteria for any of the following concurrent DSM-5 psychiatric disorders: any organic or psychotic mental disorder other than bipolar disorder, current alcohol or drug dependence, primary obsessive compulsive disorder, primary eating disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

Acute suicidal or homicidal ideation or requiring psychiatric hospitalization. Those who require inpatient treatment will be excluded (or discontinued) from the study and referred to for inpatient mood disorder treatment

Cognitive deficits precluding use of a smartphone app and/or completion of the phone interviews

Insufficient fluency in English, such that the participant cannot provide clear verbal feedback about problems with the app, make use of a smartphone app that involves minimal instructions written in English or participate in a phone interview conducted in English.