July 27, 2016

Mobilizing ePatients: How Technology is Engaging Eating Disorder Patients and Increasing Access

Mobile technology puts a powerful tool for eating disorder recovery at the fingertips of patients and providers. Don’t miss this powerful session on this topic at the upcoming Eating Recovery Center Foundation Eating Disorders Conference on August 12 and 13 in Denver, Colorado.  Learn more and register for the conference.

Led by Ashley Solomon, PsyD, CEDS and Jenna Tregarthen, MA, this presentation will explore how mobile app technology is reshaping the patient treatment experience and increasing patient access to, and engagement with, care. Presenters will offer a model for how the Recovery Record platform was integrated into a multi-level treatment system, sharing data on the experience of both providers and patients. Participants will also view an interactive demonstration of the technology and learn how it can enhance clinical practice and empower patients in their recovery.

Below, the presenters explore some of the prominent ideas highlighted their upcoming session.

How can apps be used as a tool to support and sustain eating disorder recovery?

AS: A number of factors can make it difficult for some individuals with eating disorders to benefit from traditional methods of support. Stigmatization associated with the illnesses, geographic constraints making access to care difficult, a lack of empirically-supported treatment options in some communities, and financial and insurance-related barriers—these and other factors can result in large gaps between visits to outpatient treatment providers. The gaps are significant; it is often in this time that individuals struggle the most with symptoms, experience lapses in hope and motivation and can even drop out of treatment too soon.

Reducing the actual and perceived gaps between sessions is one way in which mobile technologies in eating disorder treatment can aide in improving and sustaining outcomes. Other ways in which mobile applications can support treatment include assisting providers and individuals with tracking treatment progress, augmenting individual-provider communication, and facilitating utilization of skills in individuals’ daily lives. Further, mobile applications can support maintenance of successes and relapse prevention by making follow-up convenient and natural. Recovery Record is my favorite tool right now—this app supports meal logs and meal planning, prompts use of recovery skills (including CBT and DBT), facilitates secure exchange of information between patients and providers, and compiles data to patients and treatment teams alike understand patterns that support and challenge recovery.

As an emerging technology in the treatment of eating disorders, there are both practical and clinical considerations as we look to adopt apps into the treatment curriculum. We must continue to review the existing evidence base regarding their efficacy and provide critical review of their limitations with an emphasis on developing best practices.

Describe Recovery Record and its utility in the treatment of eating disorders.

JT: A simple observation - that the tedium associated with pen-and-paper monitoring detracts from treatment engagement - evolved into Recovery Record, the world’s number one mobile application for eating disorder management. Incorporating CBT, DBT and ACT, the app delivers “what works” in a smarter and more engaging format than pen-and-paper. We recognize the benefit of placing patient data collected in the hands of treatment teams and developed Recovery Record Clinician, a mobile-first patient management experience. These are time saving, efficiency creating tools for treatment delivery, and they are deployable in minutes. Over 10,000 eating disorder treatment professionals and 350,000 people living with eating disorders are using this technology, and we hope that is just the beginning. In order to put Recovery Record in the hands of the millions of people worldwide who need it and want it, we are partnering with treatment providers, health plans and research institutes and continuously adding new features.

How has Recovery Record’s partnership with ERC benefitted patients and clinicians?

JT: ERC has been a strong champion for and partner of Recovery Record, recognizing that mobile apps can support maintenance of successes by making treatment convenient and natural for today’s tech-savvy patients. ERC is working closely with Recovery Record to pioneer a new way of collecting data to further research and analyze treatment outcomes.

While several programs are using Recovery Record, ERC is the only treatment program offering sponsored links for outpatient providers working with ERC alumni. Essentially, this means that referral sources get to use Recovery Record for free if they’re working with a patient who has been through treatment at ERC. Patient access is also free, which allows for the de-identified and secure analysis of over a billion data points related to eating disorder behaviors to evolve best practices in treatment.

The other differentiating factor about ERC’s use of Recovery Record is that they were the first to create a customized user experience. When a patient admits to ERC (and links to ERC within their Recovery Record settings), the app reflects components of its treatment philosophy, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) language, dietary exchanges and other custom content that reinforces the ERC treatment model.

The results of Recovery Record’s collaboration with ERC will help us add new features, continue to scale and innovate quickly and evolve our commitment to transforming eating disorder care.

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