Steven Chan, MD MBA: Mobile mental health – understanding barriers & creating solutions

With panelists Alison Darcy, PhD; Adam Miner, PhD; and John Torous, MD.

Research has shown that mobile and wearable devices can improve the delivery of mental healthcare, particularly in the developing world where few psychotherapists and psychiatrists are available. Physiological, psychological, and behavioral metrics and real-time capturing of data can help detect mood disorders, relapses of addictions, relapses of psychotic disorders, as well as aid in greater understanding and awareness of one’s life patterns. Processing this data on a population level can help manage at-risk patients.

Meanwhile, more startups and entrenched players within the technology industry are recognizing unmet needs in this space. In 2015, over 70 new start-ups listed on AngelList focused on mental health. However, barriers such as patient privacy, government policy, clinician adoption, and patient adoption make implementation of such technologies difficult.

Our expert panel of patient advocates and clinicians will address the growing concerns about the privacy, legal issues, and efficacy surrounding the use of mobile devices in mental health care. Ultimately, digital mental health needs three approaches to succeed: a patient-centric approach is needed surrounding the use of patient-generated data; an evidence-based approach with reliable clinical studies; and clinical-based approach in which technologies work with clinicians, not around them.


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