McLean Hospital and Valera Health Use Smartphones to Engage Patients

Clinical trial will test technology to support patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

April 11, 2016

McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and emerging health tech startup Valera Health are partnering to conduct a clinical trial that will test a new digital technology to support patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The clinical trial, titled “Using mobile technology to improve quality of care in individuals with mental illness,” will evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of a smartphone application to engage patients after episodes of acute primary psychosis. Using the app, patients will be able to communicate directly with their care team, track wellness goals, and report both qualitative and quantitative indicators of wellbeing. Additionally, the app will analyze patient behavior based on smartphone sensor data. If warning signs of clinical worsening are detected, the app will notify the patient’s care team, allowing early intervention before the patient’s condition deteriorates.

Young woman with smartphone

Justin T. Baker, MD, PhD, director of Functional Neuroimaging and Bioinformatics for McLean’s Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Research Program, is the principal investigator for this new endeavor. His research goal is to develop more effective strategies to both monitor the course of mental illnesses and intervene in creative ways to improve patients’ lives.

The new technology is intended to serve as an added layer to McLean OnTrackTM, a state of the art program which specializes in recognition and early treatment of bipolar spectrum disorders and other conditions presenting psychosis for adults aged 18 to 30. Care managers will use the app’s corresponding cloud-based platform to remotely monitor and engage patients, extending their practice beyond clinic walls.

McLean and Valera Health will collaborate throughout the trial to continually test and improve upon the first version of the app and cloud-based platform. Validation of the technology would introduce a new standard of precision behavioral healthcare by enabling preventive and personalized interventions.

About Valera Health
Valera Health is an emerging health technology company dedicated to providing effective and scalable solutions for precision behavioral healthcare. Valera Health combines digital technology, algorithm development, and evidence-based care delivery models to deliver personalized behavioral healthcare when and where it is needed most. To learn more about Valera Health, please visit

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