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DHA releases App to Support Service Member Recovery

Image of Infographic for the Antidepressant Adherence app. The Antidepressant Adherence app focuses on improving medication compliance ( Photo by: DHA Connected Health).

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13% of Americans take some form of antidepressant.

From that population, it is expected that nearly 50% of those individuals will prematurely stop taking their medication. To combat any relapse that may occur when stopping a mental wellness treatment plan, the Defense Health Agency recently released the Antidepressant Adherence mobile application.

The Antidepressant Adherence app supports those taking medication, and works to ensure that military beneficiaries receive the support they need to continue on their mental wellness journey. With this mobile app, patients can learn the long-term benefits of their medication, and the risks that can occur when medication is abruptly stopped.

"For some patients, being on a mental wellness journey can be confusing," explained Air Force Maj. (Dr.) David Quackenbush, developer and adolescent medicine physician for Cadet Medicine at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "The Antidepressant Adherence app focuses on improving medication compliance, allowing patients to customize their medication experience, and opening a line of communication between the patient and provider. A mental wellness treatment plan is a joint effort, and this app is a great digital asset for the patient and provider."

The Antidepressant Adherence app includes features such as:

  • Beneficiary education information about the medications and their side effects
  • A calendar to keep track of medication compliance
  • Alerts for beneficiaries when to take medication and when refills are needed
  • Aids to help beneficiaries in tracking moods
  • Access to national crisis lines to call or text for immediate support

Military Health System providers and staff can leverage the Antidepressant Adherence app to monitor patients through patient notes, improve medication education, and encourage patients to stay engaged with their mental wellness treatment plan. Patients can also feel confident that they are receiving current and evidence-based information and support lines.

"The app can be easily installed from wherever patients install apps and is easy to use," said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Amit Gupta, psychiatrist and Behavioral Health Chief at Keller Army Community Hospital and Installation Director of Psychological Health at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. "As a provider, it takes a couple of minutes to set it up for the first time for your patient and add their first medication. From there, the app will remind them to take their medication, offers a wealth of information about their medications, as well as allows the patient to add feedback related to missed doses and side effects. If you're looking to improve medication adherence, or to at least discover issues with medication adherence, this app is an easy way to help your patient."

This free app is available through multiple smartphone application stores, and was developed to work with the patient's modern lifestyle. As digital health becomes more prevalent, the app can be a key tool for patients. From the profile section, patients can easily adjust medication, customize medication alerts that work with their schedule, track all appointments, and include provider information.

Because the app is password protected, patients can feel secure journaling their reactions to their medication and write down why they missed a dose of their medication.

By improving engagement and medication compliance, the MHS is working to provide optimal healthcare for ensure service members, while also improving overall force readiness.

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