TORONTO, May 11, 2016 - The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and MEMOTEXT Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop and commercialize an award-winning mobile health intervention for people with schizophrenia. The app will engage patients more fully with the recovery process, and enhance the self-management of their illness beyond their clinical care.
Through the creation of a new company, A4i Inc., CAMH and MEMOTEXT will develop the intervention, which includes an intake portal, personalization engine and communications platform. Today, A4i won a competition sponsored by JLabs Toronto to bring this intervention closer to reality.
The intervention, known as the App for Independence (A4i), will leverage both digital health technologies and evidence-based care to better engage patients, family and providers as supports in the care process. This approach is among the first attempts to apply mobile technology as a platform of support to extend care for schizophrenia, and may apply to other mental health conditions.
Dr. Sean Kidd, Psychologist-in-Chief at CAMH and Clinician Scientist behind this project, had identified the need for a secure, connected digital health solution with a focus on mental health, and specifically schizophrenia.
"Schizophrenia, and the challenges that attend it, are very complex," says Dr. Kidd. "It requires an individualized approach that addresses factors such as social isolation, engagement in psychosocial and medical treatments, and fostering psychological resilience - this is the space that A4i works in."
Advances in care and support for schizophrenia are needed. The illness can have devastating effects in the lives of those affected. Schizophrenia accounts for an estimated annual cost of $6.85 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity.
A digital health solution can make a difference here - scaffolding areas where people with schizophrenia experience challenges and fostering connections with supports.
"We are excited to leverage the expertise of this team and scale the necessary support in an evidence-based way," says Amos Adler of MEMOTEXT Corp, the team's digital health commercialization lead.
"CAMH's agreement with MEMOTEXT enables us to combine our clinical expertise with the novel use of a technology to benefit people with schizophrenia and their families with A4i," said Dr. Klara Vichnevetski, Director of CAMH's Industry Partnerships and Technology Transfer Office.
The intervention will be beta tested in the coming months and will move to feasibility testing in a subsequent rigorous randomized controlled trial, in parallel with commercialization activities already underway.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world-leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews @CAMHResearch and @MEMOTEXT on Twitter.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
(416) 535-8501 ext. 34932