Automatic telephone support can help psychiatric outpatients to manage their impulsive thoughts and actions – and improve their quality of life. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed TeleCoach™ as a complementary treatment for patients sentenced to forensic psychiatric care.

Internationally, this kind of telephone support is called Telephone-Linked Care (TLC). Patients call up the system or are called up according to a pre-arranged schedule. A friendly voice speaks with the patient about how somatic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure – or behaviour changes like diet, exercise or smoking – can be managed. To communicate with the system and select training tasks, the patient simply presses the appropriate telephone keys.

The Swedish system for telephone support has been developed at Karolinska Institutet, under the leadership of psychologist Anne H Berman. The system will now be introduced among patients in outpatient forensic psychiatric care in the Stockholm area. The original innovator in this area of telemedicine is Robert H Friedman, Professor of Medicine and Public Health from Boston Medical Center at Boston University, where many TLC systems have been developed over the past 20 years.

– Robert Friedman and his research group have shown that patients perceive the system as a positive and adequate support in everyday life, says Anne Berman.

At the end of May, Professor Friedman will visit Sweden. He will be speaking at several open seminars, among others at Karolinska Institutet. Professor Friedman’s visit is financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Society (FAS).

Dates and venues for seminars:

Monday, May 28th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Karolinska Institutet
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME).
Berzeliuslaboratoriet, 4th floor, room 40/41.
For more information contact: Uno Fors, Director, uno.fors@ki.se, 08-524 871 31.

Wednesday, May 30th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Linköping University
Department of Behavioral Sciences. Room D 31.
For a map, see: http://www4.student.liu.se/map/index.pl?room=D31.
For more information, contact: Per Carlbring, Associate professor, per.carlbring@ibv.liu.se, 070-284 25 58.

Thursday, May 31st, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Department of Human-Computer Interaction
Main building on the KTH Campus on Valhallavägen in Stockholm.
Lindstedtsvägen 5, Seminar room 4423, 4th floor.
For more information, contact: Ann Lantz, Associate professor, alz@nada.kth.se, 08-790 68 17.

For more information on:
TeleCoach™ and Professor Friedman’s visit, contact:
Anne H Berman, PhD, 070-424 53 60, anne.h.berman@ki.se or
Press Officer Sabina Bossi, 08-524 60 66, 070-614 60 66, e-mail sabina.bossi@ki.se
TLC in Sweden, TeleCoach™, see: http://ki.se/tlc
TLC systems in the US, see: www.misu.bmc.org

Karolinska Institutet is one of the leading medical universities in Europe. Through research, education and information, Karolinska Institutet contributes to improving human health. Each year, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. For more information, visit ki.se