Developing and Testing the ‘E-Minder’ System: A Personalized Self-management Resource for Depression Patients

Project Goals and Approach:

The personalized electronic reminder (“E-minder”) program was developed as a result of a collaborative effort initiated by clinic-affiliated researchers and clinicians to improve patient treatment processes and outcomes. The personalized E-minder program is a treatment option established soon after patient intake (between sessions 2-5) by the treating clinician and the patient. The overall goal of participation in the E-minder program is to help patients achieve remission by reminding them of their personal strategies for self-management, their personalized sources of support and, after they achieve remission, reminding them of their original symptoms of depression so that they can monitor for recurrence. The program can include key elements that may help with treatment continuity, self-management and support. For example, program monitoring, self-management goals, and specific therapy activities are three of the features of the E-minder program that allows the patient to re-visit the items that were discussed during his or her last therapy session. These features are presented in a way that encourages the patient to remain vigilant over his or her depression and can help the patient maintain their treatment regimen between therapy sessions. The E-minder can be sent to the patient at predetermined intervals established jointly by the clinician and patient. A qualitative needs assessment was conducted to explore how the E-minder program could best serve our depression patients. We conducted a focus group composed of male and female depression patients from a sample of depression patients being served.

Project funded by the University of Michigan Depression Center.



  • Watkins, D. C., Smith, L.C., Kerber, K., Kuebler, J., & Himle, J. (2011). E-mail as a depression self-management tool: A needs assessment to determine patients’ interests and preferences. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 17(7): 378-381.  


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