Patients with depression in the UK can now access a new smartphone app designed to help them better manage their own illness and improve communication with healthcare professionals.

Launched by Eli Lilly this week, ‘Talking Progress' is meant to help empower patients by raising awareness of their illness in-between medical appointments and facilitating a better dialogue with doctors.

Key barriers to effective care are a lack of communication and  treatment adherence, which can lead to poorer quality treatment and outcomes, problems which Lilly is hoping to address with its app.

Talking Progress allows patients to keep a mood diary and make notes in preparation for their next appointment, encourages them to ask their doctor questions about their illness, enables access to an information bank on depression, and also offers reminder alerts for taking medication.

Patients with depression have long been encouraged to take notes on their condition with pen and paper but practically this hasn't really happened, a spokesperson told PharmaTimes World News. Offering an electronic means of doing so could help more patients pay closer and more regular attention to their illness as well as give healthcare professionals crucial information on the disease's course, he said.

Recovery through understanding

"By taking advantage of the growing demand for innovative channels, we were able to create an interactive tool which allows patients to be active participants in their recovery through understanding their symptoms and improving communication with their healthcare professional," noted Alan Lenox Smith, Lilly Medical Spokesperson.

And establishing a good rapport between a patient and their doctor "helps the person with depression develop a better understanding of their illness, and more importantly allows them to manage their condition more effectively," added Dr Ghosh, Adult Consultant Psychiatrist, Cardiff, voicing his support for the app.