PITA FY2014 Projects

Mobile Psychiatric Interventions through Smartphones

PI:Rajeev Gandhi, Electrical & Computer Engineering

University:Carnegie Mellon University

Co-PI(s):Kunal Mankodiya, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Industry Affiliate(s):Emodt
UPMC, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

Summary:The rapid rate of growth of health care costs is driving government institutions, hospitals, physicians and patients to look towards technology to help reduce the number of patient visits and expensive diagnostic tests. Our research group is collaborating with a team of Psychiatrists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Emodt, a Pennsylvania-based startup company, to establish a smartphone-based framework that offers remote psychiatric assessment of patients. The framework incorporates multi-modal sensing techniques and leverages the intelligent use of smartphone sensors to provide tele-psychiatric patient monitoring.

We have already begun our collaboration with UPMC and have developed mechanisms to identify facial expressions such as smile/laughter using a patient’s smartphone camera to allow psychiatrists to remotely determine the effects of providing stimuli, in the form of an image or video, to their patients at different times of the day. This project will allow us to further enhance our collaboration and develop sensor-driven clinical applications that could provide quantitative diagnostic services through a patient’s smartphone.

With the help of our collaborators, we plan to conduct a detailed survey of psychiatric disorders and methods of their clinical examinations to understand the problems associated with some of the mental disorders. In the next phase, we plan to develop smartphone applications and conduct in-lab testing to calibrate the apps for ambulatory monitoring of patients' emotions, activities and behaviors. Once the sensor parameters on the apps are tuned, we will work with our collaborators to form subject studies to evaluate the performance of the clinical apps, either in clinical or home settings.

Successful completion of this project has the potential of providing significant benefits both to the utilization of cost-effective mobile technology in psychiatry, and to the establishment of a unique channel for clinical interventions.