Iodine is teaming up with Mindful Health Solutions, a network of psychiatric service providers in Northern California, to make the Apple CareKit app, Start, a part of depression treatment at TMS clinics.

Iodine and Their New Apple CareKit App, Start

San Francisco-based startup Iodine is touting its depression-focused mobile app, Start. This is the first app developed with Apple’s CareKit to be integrated into clinical practice in mental health. The news signifies a milestone for CareKit, a platform of iOS apps that help people better manage health conditions.

Wednesday, Iodine announced that it is teaming up with Mindful Health Solutions to make Start a part of their depression treatment. Mindful Health Solutions specializes in treating treatment-resistant depression.

“They’re our clinical partner to demonstrate how we close the loop with patient-generated data,” Iodine CEO and Co-founder Thomas Goetz said.

The Goal of Start

The idea is to provide better management and monitoring of patients starting on antidepressants.

According to STAR*D, it generally takes 6-9 months for a new patient to find an effective treatment for clinical depression. “We want to help people understand that in the first 2-4 weeks, there may be side effects and ups and downs,” Goetz said.

Antidepressants work one-third of the time,” Goetz explained. Patients are often on their own with the usual method of trial and error. Comparatively, Start helps providers check in with people who are adjusting to new medications. It also generates progress reports at regular intervals. “The user can see right away if they’re getting better or not,” Goetz said.

How the Apple CareKit App Helps Physicians

Additionally, the app helps physicians determine if the patient needs a medication switch by providing a window into the patient’s experience outside the clinic. (The app doesn’t have FDA clearance, so it can’t be offered as a diagnostic system.) “We want to be the arbiter of real-world success or failure,” Goetz said.

Primary care physicians do the majority of antidepressant prescribing. However, they rarely administer the PHQ-9, which is the depression module of the Patient Health Questionnaire. Goetz said that only about 20% of psychiatrists practice measurement-based care. Importantly, the Start app incorporates the test so that more patients will take the questionnaire.

Since Iodine released the Apple CareKit app, Start, in August 2015, 46% of users have reported positive results with their treatment after six weeks. Four weeks into treatment, they have averaged an improvement of nearly 6 points on the 27-point PHQ-9 test.

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