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Michael Wong DO

  • Graduate 2018
Scholarly Research Project

Development of a SmartPhone Application for Patient Self-Management of Depression

Michael W. Wong, DO


Depression is a common issue in primary care.  At the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center (SFHC) 25% of patients screen positive for depression.  Research shows about 50% of primary care patients discontinue antidepressant treatment prematurely.  Thus, engaging patients in treatment is fundamentally important.  Response from a prior focus group gauging FHC patient and physician attitudes toward utilizing a smartphone application for this purpose was favorable.   This project sought to develop a prototype “app” tailored to the needs of patients to improve the quality of care. 


A prototype smartphone application was developed based on past feedback provided by patients and physicians during small focus groups.  The app included information and resources for patients, a symptom severity questionnaire (PHQ-9), a link to schedule a follow-up appointment and a link to an online treatment program.  It was provided to two groups for testing: patients diagnosed with depression and physicians within the practice.  Each completed a survey to rate their satisfaction with the application in key areas on a scale from 1 (lowest satisfaction) to 5 (highest). 


The app will be demonstrated.  Patient and physician responses to the satisfaction surveys were collected and analyzed.  Levels of satisfaction in each group will be reported.


A customized FHC smartphone application for self-management and of depression shows promise and is worthy of continued development as a potentially useful part of treatment for interested patients.   Additional development is necessary to improve its utility to engage patients in the treatment of depression.