Online and Mobile Technologies for Self-Management in Bipolar Disorder: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Objective: Internet (eHealth) and smartphone-based (mHealth) approaches to self-management for bipolar disorder are increasingly common. Evidence-based self-management strategies are available for bipolar disorder and provide a useful framework for reviewing existing eHealth/mHealth programs to determine whether these strategies are supported by current technologies. This review assesses which self-management strategies are most supported by technology. Method: Based on 3 previous studies, 7 categories of self-management strategies related to bipolar disorder were identified, followed by a systematic literature review to identify existing eHealth and mHealth programs for this disorder. Searches were conducted by using PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for relevant peer-reviewed articles published January 2005 to May 2015. eHealth and mHealth programs were summarized and reviewed to identify which of the 7 self-management strategy categories were supported by eHealth or mHealth programs. Results: From 1,654 publications, 15 papers were identified for inclusion. From these, 9 eHealth programs and 2 mHealth programs were identified. The most commonly supported self-management strategy categories were “ongoing monitoring,” “maintaining hope,” “education,” and “planning for and taking action”; the least commonly supported categories were “relaxation” and “maintaining a healthy lifestyle.” eHealth programs appear to provide more comprehensive coverage of self-management strategies compared with mHealth programs. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Both eHealth and mHealth programs present a wide range of self-management strategies for bipolar disorder, although individuals seeking comprehensive interventions might be best served by eHealth programs, while those seeking more condensed and direct interventions might prefer mHealth programs.

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