PsyMate - Momentary Assessment Tool
In order to better understand fluctuations in behaviour and experiences in the flow of daily life, EU-GEI scientists have developed the PsyMate device and application. This data collection and software tool is able to capture multiple parameters in the flow of people's everyday life. The PsyMate tool helps to empower patients in managing their own life, it helps clinicians in terms of diagnosis, and it can contribute to the evaluation of mental health care interventions. The tool received the (Dutch) Mental Health TECH award in 2015.
The PsyMate App is a platform to run ecological data-collection schemes and embedded mobile interventions that can be customized to different needs in research and basic clinical practice.
The PsyMate App implements the “PEAS 4.5 specs” that define the intended functionality of the PsyMate and the context in which it should operate. The PsyMate is protocol-driven. Protocols specify the different moments for data collection (e.g. based on time or beeper based algorithms or on events) and the type of data ((self-report) questionnaires or sensor data). Algorithms can be added that trigger additional data collection (or provide the user with instructions). These triggers can be defined on user-based reports (e.g. high anxiety) or contextual information (e.a. changes in places tracked by GPS or activation tracked by the motion sensors).
The data capture is very user-friendly: at irregular intervals during the day (i.e. randomized), the PsyMate App will beep to prompt the user to fill in basic information on mood states and current circumstances and experience (this is called the “Experience Sampling Method” or ESM). Filling in the prompted questionnaire takes around 2 minutes. Data are then stored and can be analysed after e.g. 1 week to build up what is called a “film” rather than a “snapshot” of daily life.
A so-called ‘demo’ App is available for free and accessible without restrictions for users and clinicians. It is actually available in 5 languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish) and other translations are in preparation. Because everyone can subscribe to it, it is also used in fields outside mental health, such as somatic care (primarily stress related illnesses as IBS, post stroke rehabilitation, etc), and organisational psychology.
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