The world is becoming more and more digital with every passing day, and this digitization is reaching into all aspects of life, including those that touch mental and behavioral health. These days, it’s critical to keep up with technology or you will risk being outpaced by competitors or your product becoming obsolete.
Digital Mental and Behavioral Health as a Growing Trend
According to at least one study from Accenture, a full quarter of surveyed consumers say that they’ve already received digital healthcare services, which would include the mental and behavioral health variety, which was a rise from the year before of four percent. Nearly three-quarters of those who had received digital care said that they were satisfied. This means it appears that once people engage with digital trends, they adapt to the change and become loyal to the new method of receiving care.
Privacy Trends in Digital Health
As digital health solutions become increasingly popular, there’s also an increase in the demand for privacy, as digital video-conferencing technology doesn’t necessarily have a secure connection between people built into it. This will likely begin changing to a near universality, however, as using virtual private networks to eliminate eavesdropping on a private health session will begin to be essential, if not baked into the system itself. There are laws in many states coming into fruition which will mandate this level of security.
Digital Therapeutics and Addiction Treatment Overview
Addiction is reaching troubling proportions in the U.S., which means that there are a lot of opportunities for behavioral health companies and groups to address the problem with digital solutions. Here are some examples.
According to recent statistics, Alcohol Use Disorder affects 16.3 million Americans a year. There are over six million people suffering from illicit drug use disorder, and 1.8 million citizens struggle with prescription pain reliever use disorder.
The strategies to address these societal challenges have recently focused on Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, for short. MATs use substances like methadone to help wean people off drugs by stabilizing their brain chemistry. This type of treatment also seeks to reduce both chemical and psychological cravings, partly by reducing the high so that people don’t crave the substance as much. Unfortunately, there can be some challenges to this approach, such as a lack of resources to provide the needed meds to patients; the fact that many patients don’t know where to go find their meds and a polarizing social stigma attached to mental and behavioral health solutions, though this is changing.
There’s some evidence to suggest that using therapy to connect with patients remotely, in addition to MAT, could also help with addiction. By holding remote sessions, it opens the door to connect with patients consistently, which is important in therapy. It’s also possible for patients to stay in therapy for longer, due to reduced cost and increased ease. Other benefits include:
- Increased interaction- Since you can connect via video conferencing from anywhere, patients can experience increased interactivity, which is often key in positive outcomes for treating addiction.
- Reduced stigma- Since it’s easier to connect privately, patients will worry less about the social stigma involved in therapy.
- Calmer environments- Telehealth can bridge the distance gap and allow patients to receive therapy from the comfort of their own homes.
Substance abuse is the type of challenge where more interaction and more consistency over a longer period of time can make a tremendous difference. Digital solutions like Telehealth are becoming a major solution due to the fact that those suffering from addiction can seek help when they need it.
Digital Behavioral Solutions and APIs (Apps)
Digital apps for helping people manage challenges are also a growing trend.
Chatbots-When a behavioral health professional can’t be there every second of every day for a patient, one thing they can do is program a bot to help when a patient is in trouble. If it’s an emergency, the bot can help contact the professional. It can also provide customized support for the patient, just as if they were there themselves. In other words, it doesn’t have to be that impersonal just because it’s a bot. The professional can input advice from the last session that is specific to the individual. Plus, apart from that, there are chatbots that are more adept than ever before at helping reduce anxiety. Many of these can be done through apps.
- Facial Recognition-This technology is going to have a huge effect on digital mental health. It will help with security and privacy, for one thing, so that it’s even more difficult for someone to violate the doctor-patient trust dynamic as well as laws related to HIPAA. It’s an advantage when it comes to multi-authentication practices since it only takes a second.
- Data Entry Improvements-Billing and data entry of a different sort, that is, simply inputting all of the information required to manage things like remote health operations, is also being streamlined by modern technological trends. The average pracitioner uses up to six hours of their day inputting data entry. A.I. and automation can aid in reducing paperwork and reconfiguring operations of a remote business.
Summing Up: Mental Health Solutions for Businesses
It’s critical to stay up-to-date on current technological trends in your field so your produce or service doesn’t lose its value. There are many examples of companies falling behind technological trends, including the bookstore Borders, which was too slow to switch to more digital means of advertising and offering e-readers for their customers.
This led to them being eliminated by companies like Barnes and Noble and, of course, Amazon. It’s the same within the mental and behavioral health community. According to a survey from Forrester, out of 1600 business, decision-makers noted only 22% of them are investing in digital technology or aren’t trying to transform their businesses at all.
It’s important for companies to have their data digitized, but also to make sure that this data is secure from privacy leaks and cyber-attacks from the outside. Plus, the rise of remote digital mental and behavioral health will lead to an increase in billing solutions to handle most business transactions digitally. Mental and behavioral health providers should be interested in solutions that can save their staff time and their business money. The inefficient, those who don’t take care of privacy, and those who don’t offer remote solutions will be outcompeted, every time.