BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased strain on health care systems and negative psychological effects on health care workers . This is anticipated to result in long term negative mental health effects on the population, with health care workers (HCWs) representing a particularly vulnerable group . The scope of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the development of a scalable mental health platform to provide services to large numbers of at risk or affected individuals . The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City was at the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States .
OBJECTIVE: To address the current and anticipated psychological impact the pandemic has had on the HCWs in the health system, a Center for Stress, Resilience, and Personal Growth (CSRPG) was created . The mission of the Center is to support the resilience and mental health of employees through educational offerings, outreach and clinical care . Our aim was to build a mobile application to support the newly founded Center in its mission .
METHODS: We built the app as a standalone digital platform that hosts a suite of tools which users can interact with on a daily basis . With consideration for the Center's aims, we determined the overall vision, initiatives, and goals for the Wellness Hub app, followed by specific milestone tasks and deliverables for development . We defined the app's primary features based on the mental health assessment and needs of HCWs . Feature definition was informed by the results of a resilience survey widely distributed to Mount Sinai HCWs, and by the resources offered at CSRPG, including workshop content .
RESULTS: We launched our app over the course of two phases, the first phase being a``soft"launch and the second being a broader launch to all of Mount Sinai . Of the 231 health care workers who downloaded the app , 173 completed our baseline assessment of all mental health screeners in the app . Results from the baseline assessment show that more than half of users demonstrate a need for support in at least one psychological area . As of three months after the phase 2 launch, approximately 55% of users re-entered the app after their first opening to explore additional features, with an average of 4 app openings per person .
CONCLUSIONS: To address the mental health needs of HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wellness Hub app was built and deployed throughout the Mount Sinai Health System . To our knowledge, this is the first resilience app of its kind . The Wellness Hub app is a promising proof of concept, with room to grow, for those who wish to build a secure mobile health app to support their employees, communities, or others in managing and improving mental and physical well-being . It is a novel tool offering mental health support broadly.