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Despite significant advancements in healthcare technology, digital health solutions – especially those for serious mental illnesses – continue to fall short of their potential across both clinical practice and efficacy. The utility and impact of medicine, including digital medicine, hinges on relationships, trust, and engagement, particularly in the field of mental health. This paper details results from Phase 1 of a two-part study that seeks to engage people with schizophrenia, their family members, and clinicians in co-designing a digital mental health platform for use across different cultures and contexts in the United States and India.
Each site interviewed a mix of clinicians, patients, and their family members in focus groups (n = 20) of two to six participants. Open-ended questions and discussions inquired about their own smartphone use and, after a demonstration of the mindLAMP platform, specific feedback on the app's utility, design, and functionality.
Our results based on thematic analysis indicate three common themes: increased use and interest in technology during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), concerns over how data are used and shared, and a desire for concurrent human interaction to support app engagement.
People with schizophrenia, their family members, and clinicians are open to integrating technology into treatment to better understand their condition and help inform treatment. However, app engagement is dependent on technology that is complementary – not substitutive – of therapeutic care from a clinician.