Using Short Message Service as a Means of Engagement in Early Psychosis

Poster C19, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Jessica D'Arcey1,3, Aristotle Voineskos1,2,3, George Foussias1,2,3; 1University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Science, 2University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry, 3Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Child, Youth and Emerging Adult/ Schizophrenia Division

Clinical disengagement of youth in early episode clinics continues to be a significant barrier to recovery as evidenced by alarming rates of treatment non-adherence and clinic drop-out. This disengagement leads to longer durations of untreated/partially-treated illness, which in turn leads to higher rates of symptom burden, re-hospitalization, and poorer functional outcomes. Solutions have included increased access to clinicians either via telephone or in person, however financial limitations often undermine these efforts. This has caused a shift toward the use of SMS due to its low cost and popularity as 95% of youth in North America send and receive SMS messages daily. The current study is a blinded, longitudinal, randomized control trial examining the efficacy of a simple weekly SMS-survey on youth engagement in an early episode clinic. Subjects will be eligible so long as they are eligible for clinical care and will be followed over 9 months. They will be randomized to receive one of two kinds of weekly SMS-surveys: active (questions of general wellbeing, attendance and medication adherence) or sham (no relevant subject matter). For subjects in the active group, responses may trigger clinician follow-up if necessary (ex. the patient reports distress). Weekly surveys will be sent via a third-party public provider but will be generated and stored by a secure online database. The study has begun recruitment as of January this year and will have preliminary 6-month findings to present.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

Back to Poster Schedule