Meanwhile, T2 and other programs are reporting usage and anecdotal success.
Medhelp—an online health community serving about 12 million users—has an app called Mood Tracker that posts the peaks and valleys of a user's emotional health with elaborate color-coded charts. In one example on the company's website, a patient's management of bipolar disorder is depicted through a variety of indicators (such as loneliness or agitation, work issues and medication), which the program uses to map the person's overall mood.
The app can improve a patient's communication with his or her clinician and, consequently, care, says John de Souza, president and CEO of MedHelp. "The doctors can look at the data very quickly and get creative insights." And for patients, he says, it can help them see the extent of a condition and track the correlation between mood and medication.
For Whiteside, the Anxiety Coach app has proven "more engaging than writing things down" and has made it easier for therapists to monitor their patients. Using these apps not only supplements care but helps to fill a void between supply and demand in mental health care, where there's a dearth of mental health professionals, Whiteside says. "Only about 30 percent of the people who have anxiety disorders actually get help," he says. "Hopefully, we can use technology like Anxiety Coach to get help to the people who need it in the most effective way."