ITAREPS: Information Technology Aided Relapse Prevention Programme in Schizophrenia
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ITAREPS presents a mobile phone-based telemedicine solution for weekly remote patient monitoring and disease management in schizophrenia and psychotic disorders in general. The programme provides health professionals with home telemonitoring via a PC-tophoneSMSplatform that identifies prodromal symptoms of relapse, to enable early intervention and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. Its web-based interface offers the authorized physician a longitudinal analysis of the dynamics and development of possible prodromes. This work presents preliminary findings from a one-year mirror-design follow-up evaluation of the programme's clinical effectiveness in 45 patients with psychotic illness. There was a statistically significant 60% decrease in the number of hospitalizations during the mean 283.3±111.9 days of participation in the ITAREPS, compared to the same time period before the ITAREPS entry (sign test, pb0.004). Variables significantly influencing the number of hospitalizations after the ITAREPS entry (medication compliance along with factors intrinsic to the ITAREPS, i.e. adherence to the programme and involvement of a family member) suggest a critical role of the programme in controlling the number of relapses and subsequent hospitalizations in psychosis.
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