Transformational Approach to Managing Major Depressive Disorder Among College Students from Rural Communities

Award Information
Department of Agriculture
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
1141 S 7TH ST, Saint Louis, MO, 63104
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Shane Bradley
Vice President
(570) 814-2005
Business Contact:
Michael Schrader
(573) 819-3578
Research Institution:
Rural college students have a significant need for improved quality and efficiency mental health services for Major Depressive Disorder. Iconic Health proposes to address this need by building upon the HomePsych communication platform, integrating a process whereby mobile symptom reporting is visually formatted for enriched understanding by mental health professionals. The HomePsych communication platform was developed, validated and commercialized in rural communities primarily through prior USDA funding with Phase I and II SBIR awards. In its current incarnation, HomePsych represents a transformative approach to mental health care delivery in two primary ways. One, this platform integrates a mental health record keeping system with a video telepsychiatry system. Two, it optimizes mental health care by enriching the provider's understanding of the patient by leveraging Web 2.0 technology to efficiently collect information from the patient and presents it effectively to the provider. By making patient information quickly accessible and understandable to the provider, HomePsych has improved the process of mental health care provision. With the current HomePsych system, patients log into the secure online patient portal to provide progress reports and complete ongoing rating scales for symptoms of mental illness. Iconic Health proposes to expand the patient's interface, developed beyond its current Internet browser interface to an iPhone mobile application to allow frequent reports of psychological symptoms as they occur, as well as events and behaviors relevant to treatment of depression. This method of data collection, often referred to as ecological momentary assessment (EMA; Stone & Shiffman,1994), allows the collection of real time data while the individual is in his or her natural environment. EMA is presently used as a research tool for studying mood swings, but, to our knowledge, has never been integrated into an electronic health record for ongoing assessment and treatment of mood disorders by psychiatrists. The expected benefits for college students from rural areas suffering from Major Depressive Disorder are significant and broad reaching. Through enhancing mental health providers' understanding of their symptoms in context, college students will receive more accurate diagnosis and optimized medication management, which will lead to quicker recovery from depressive episode and more effective prevention of future depressive episodes in this vulnerable population. The anticipated end benefits for rural college students are improved quality of life, higher collegiate achievement, fewer dropouts, fewer suicides.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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