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Using Technology and SmartPhone Apps to Support Physical Health Improvements in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

As the use of technology grows in America, and notably in the monitoring and support of chronic health conditions, it is important to explore the use of smart phones and applications that are available to advance and improve care for persons with addictions and mental illnesses. Are existing apps effective in treating people with addictions and/or mental illnesses or do modifications need to be made to them to be effective? Which apps are most appropriate for people with mental illnesses and which are most appropriate for those with addictions? How do we embed technology as part of what we do each and every day in our community behavioral health organizations?

In response to the overwhelmingly successful preconference university at the 2014 National Council Conference in Washington, DC, this learning community will take the next step of helping up to 20 organizations embed technology-based supports in ongoing integrated health settings.

Project Goals and Objectives

  1. Expand the use of smart phones and applications in community-based behavioral health organizations providing integrated primary and behavioral health care.
  2. Identify and test three smart phone applications that can be used with people with addictions and/or mental illnesses to monitor and support diabetes care.
  3. Identify and test three smart phone applications that can be used to monitor and support people with hypertension.
  4. Identify options and opportunities to provide free or lost cost cell phones to individuals receiving addiction treatment and/or mental health services to support diabetes and hypertension care.
  5. Provide each participating site with at least one electronic device at the first face-to-face learning community meeting to provide hands-on learning.
  6. Collect and review outcome data of 25 people receiving addiction treatment and/or mental health services from each participating site on the impact of using smartphone applications to monitor either diabetes or hypertension.

Key Elements

  • The project will use a learning community model in which teams of staff from up to 20 organizations convene in one face-to-face meeting, six highly interactive, web-based learning sessions and three individual organization-based coaching calls with learning community faculty over a nine-month period.
  • Organizations will be asked to identify at least 25 individuals receiving mental health and/or addiction treatment who have diabetes and/or hypertension to pilot the use of smart phone applications to monitor and support them in changing key health indicators related to their physical health and behavioral health diagnoses.
  • Organizations will be asked to choose one smart phone application to pilot with the 25 individuals over a six-month period. Half of the 20 participating organizations will work on diabetes-related care and the other half of the organizations will work on hypertension.
  • Project faculty will work with each organization to secure smart phones, as needed, and to assist with bulk purchasing of any chosen health monitoring devices.
  • Coaching calls will occur with each organization to provide site-specific support in developing and/or reviewing their projects.

Criteria for Participation

  • As a core part of its strategic vision, selected organizations must be working toward integrating primary and behavioral health care.
  • Selected organizations predominantly serve a diverse population and can identify individuals on their case loads with diabetes and/or hypertension.
  • The CEO must approve the final application.
  • All participating organizations must have minimum one team member attend the face to face meeting in Washington, DC on November 19, 2014.
  • All participating organizations must be willing to track and trend BMI, HbA1c, and blood pressure readings for individuals participating in the project.
    • Organizations accepted must submit a non-refundable payment of $7,500 (non-member), $5,000 (member) fee by November 30, 2014.

Want to learn more? Our Smart Apps for Behavioral Health informational webinar included a discussion of the details of this exciting opportunity to strengthen and modernize your service delivery.

Application Submission
For consideration, please complete your online application by close of business (5:00 pm EDT) on October 27, 2014. Participants will be notified on or before November 7.

Before filling out the online application, you can review all application questions here

Please direct questions about the application to Daisy Wheeler at  For more information about the learning community, please contact Jeannie Campbell at