Hey Buddy – A New App.

Posted by: Dawn Schell on March 25, 2013 12:52 pm

Here’s a cool use of technology!  The Buddy App[1] designed by Sidekick Studios in the UK.  It’s not like other apps I have talked about.  This app is designed to be used by and with therapists (to use their language).  “It is a digital tool to support therapy services.  Clients use text messaging to keep a daily diary of what they are doing and how they are feeling, helping to spot and reinforce positive behaviours.” 

Currently, the Buddy App is being used by some of the National Health Service locations in the UK as well as other service providers.

Here’s what I understand about how it works.

The therapist, with the client’s consent, sets up the Buddy App system with the client’s cell phone number and appointment date.  Simple!

Everyday the client receives a text message from Buddy asking them to record their daily activities and rate their day.  The text messages are personalized, easy to answer and nonintrusive.  For example, “Hi Dawn.  Buddy here.  What did you do today?” 

This information is stored in their ‘account’ to which both the client and the therapist have access.

The day before their session Buddy sends the client a reminder of the appointment time and encourages them to go into their account and review their information (days’ activities and ratings).

This is the really cool part – the client can then make notes and plan what they would like to talk about their session.  These notes and session plans are saved in the system so prior to the session the therapist can also review the client’s week went and see what they want to work on in session. 

When it comes to goal setting it’s possible for Buddy to send the client a text reminder for those behavioural changes they want to make.  They can choose the wording and the timing of the message.

For example “Morning Dawn.  Buddy here.  Why not go for a walk this morning?”.

The Buddy App uses text messaging as the medium for delivering this service because it’s “cheap, discreet, portable and fits into clients’ lives”.  

As you might expect I made sure to review their privacy policy. The makers of Buddy App say they are “committed to the privacy and confidentiality of any information entered into this program”.  They then clearly outline the processes and purposes for which an individual’s personal and clinical data is used. 

They do address the user’s responsibility to protect their own privacy – “It is your responsibility to keep your password safe and to ensure that when using the program it cannot be accessed by other people without your consent.

It is also your responsibility to ensure SMS messages are kept secure – we recommend the use of password locks on your mobile phone.”  Fair enough.

Can we use it in Canada?  They do point out if you want to use it in a country other than where their servers are located (UK) you need to be aware that the data would be transferred across international boundaries.  So, hmmm.  Need to think about the implications of that one. 

I like the simplicity and can see how useful this would be with some clients.  Most of all I like the way in which clients can be more deeply engaged in the therapeutic process.�
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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