The Defense Department has developed a smartphone application for the military, called T2 Mood Tracker, that enables veterans and current members of the service to keep track of their emotions and behaviors following deployment.
Users can record information on therapy, medication, daily events and environmental changes, the department reports.
Mood Tracker was created by T2 (The National Center for Telehealth & Technology), a department agency based in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
T2 also manages the department's telehealth program. Veterans are increasingly making use of mobile telehealth technology to communicate medical information to and from physicians over long distances, especially in rural areas.
"Therapists and physicians often have to rely on patient recall when trying to gather information about symptoms over the previous weeks or months," Perry Bosmajian, a psychologist with T2, noted in a statement. "Research has shown that information collected after the fact, especially about mood, tends to be inaccurate. This application can improve the quality of the treatments for the provider and the patient."
The app allows military personnel to monitor post-traumatic stress, brain injury, life stress, depression and anxiety. They can also share the information with therapists and physicians.
Within the app, graphs allow users to track trends in emotional health and compare daily experiences with emotional reactions over time.
Post-traumatic stress and brain injury are common problems that occur after deployment to combat zones, according to T2. Following emotional experience over time can be therapeutic, the agency reports.
"The best record of an experience is when it's recorded at the time and place it happens," Bosmajian said.
Military personnel may record daily events such as medication schedule, environmental and interpersonal stress, marital status changes, and injuries. Users can also customize areas to monitor.
Although HIPAA rules on data storage apply to health care providers once the user has shared the data with them, Mood Tracker information resident on the patient's smartphone is not subject to the rules, T2 reports. It's up to the patient to secure the data.
Military personnel can download the application from T2health.org.
T2 has also created Tactical Breathing Trainer, an iPhone app that instructs members of the military on how to cope with stressful events. It includes breathing exercises to manage heart rate, emotions and concentration during combat situations. The app is also suitable for the general public, according to the agency.
Tactical Breathing Trainer for the iPhone will be available in early 2011, and an Android version will follow.