Behavior health analytics startup Ginger.io has partnered with the Association of Utah Community Health (AUCH) to launch Utah SmartCare, a new mobile app care management platform aimed at improving health outcomes for low-income Utah residents that suffer from mental illness.

Utah has a disproportionately high incidence of suicide and associated mood disorders. Antidepressants are prescribed in the state at nearly twice the average US rate and 22.3% of the adult population reported the experience of a mental illness in one recent study.

Utah SmartCare will help doctors and patients manage mental illness by leveraging Ginger.io’s predictive mobile analytics to identify symptoms and warning signs based on interactions a patient has with her smartphone and data from the phone’s native sensors. Inputs via mobile app include how much a patient moved around, where she went, how much she slept, who she talked to, and what apps she used. An algorithm specific to the patient’s condition determines whether she might be at risk based on her smartphone data.

Doctors are also able to use SmartCare to send updates or questions to ask patients how they are feeling, either as part of a regular check in or because the platform notified them of symptomatic patient behavior. Combining this explicit input with the implicit data collected from the smartphone, both the doctor and patient have a comprehensive record of the patient’s condition for time between appointments.

The program will help solve the longstanding problem of how doctors can accurately monitor and assess patients between visits when patients are away from the office. Especially in the case of mental illness, patients may show symptoms or warning signs in the real world that go unrecognized and unreported until the patient’s next visit, leading to a potential delay in treatment.

“Up until this point, we haven’t had the technology to effectively measure how patients are feeling outside of a care setting,” Cofounder and CEO of Ginger.io Dr. Anmol Madan said in a statement. “Now that this remote data is more readily available, we are integrating it with the existing healthcare system and using it to deliver the sort of personalized outreach that improves care for patients and drives down costs, both of which substantially benefit the entire system.”

Utah SmartCare will initially pilot with 500 patients who suffer both from mental illness and other physical health issues, 80% of whom live at or below the poverty line.

Ginger.io and the Utah SmartCare program speak to power of mobile apps to help us better understand ourselves and improve our lives based on that knowledge.

No matter your industry, you should be paying attention to Ginger.io. When a platform can process a set of seemingly unconnected smartphone data to analyze, predict, and moderate something as complex as mental illness, it’s clear the possibilities are endless. Identify the key touchpoints through which your users are interacting with your business, collect and analyze the data from these touchpoints, and use this knowledge to strengthen your relationship with your users and provide a better product or service.

(Originally Published on the Centric Digital blog // December 15, 2014)