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Smartphone Program Aids Patients with Schizophrenia

Schizophr Res; ePub 2018 Dec 11; Achtyes, et al

Most patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders recently discharged from the hospital utilized a smartphone intervention designed to address troublesome residual symptoms, according to a recent study. Researchers conducted a large, prospective, 10-site, longitudinal study of 4 technology-assisted interventions for patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders within 60 days of psychiatric hospital discharge, a high-risk period. A smartphone intervention called FOCUS could be used by patients as needed, providing help in 5 content areas: medications, mood, social, sleep, and voices. Each login was date- and time-stamped as occurring during normal clinic hours, or “off-hours,” and the pattern of use described. They found:

  • 347 of 368 patients utilized FOCUS during the 6-month study.
  • There were a total of 75,447 FOCUS logins; 35,739 (47.4%) were self-initiated and 38,139 (50.6%) were off-hours.
  • 18,450 of the logins during off-hours were self-initiated (24.5%).
  • No differences in average usage per month were found based on race/ethnicity.
  • A subset of “high utilizers” (n=152, 43.8%) self-initiated use of all 5 FOCUS modules both on- and off-hours.
  • They tended to be women, aged >35 years, with a high school diploma or greater.


Achtyes ED, Ben-Zeev D, Luo Z, et al. Off-hours use of a smartphone intervention to extend support for individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital. [Published online ahead of print December 11, 2018]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2018.11.026.