- JMIR Mental Health Journal
- January 2021
- 1, 17116
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International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
- Background: New technologies are changing access to medical records and the relationship between physicians and patients. Professionals can now use e-mental health tools to provide prompt and personalized responses to patients with mental illness. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the digital phenotypes of patients who use e-mental health apps. Objective: This study aimed to reveal the profiles of users of a mental health app through machine learning techniques. Methods: We applied a nonparametric model, the Sparse Poisson Factorization Model, to discover latent features in the response patterns of 2254 psychiatric outpatients to a short self-assessment on general health. The assessment was completed through a mental health app after the first login. Results: The results showed the following four different profiles of patients: (1) all patients had feelings of worthlessness, aggressiveness, and suicidal ideas; (2) one in four reported low energy and difficulties to cope with problems; (3) less than a quarter described depressive symptoms with extremely high scores in suicidal thoughts and aggressiveness; and (4) a small number, possibly with the most severe conditions, reported a combination of all these features. Conclusions: User profiles did not overlap with clinician-made diagnoses. Since each profile seems to be associated with a different level of severity, the profiles could be useful for the prediction of behavioral risks among users of e-mental health apps.
- data mining; digital phenotyping; mental disorders; suicidal ideation; suicide prevention