Recently, in a conversation with a trauma psychologist, I was made aware of the counseling he was doing with veterans suffering from PTSD in remote rural areas via Telehealth. I am still convinced that in-person counseling is a much better option, however, due to digital health, millions are able to access much-needed services.
Telehealth and digital health in healthcare are reshaping the industry for numerous patients. Technology continues to drastically change the communication between healthcare professionals and their patients. In the mental health field specifically, patients are now able to speak to their respected doctors or therapists over the phone or through an app at any point in time. This reshaping of the industry has increased access to more resources at the touch of a button.
California law describes this loose term as, ““The mode of delivering health care services and public health via information and communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care while the patient is at the originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site.” It is in essence, the ability to share medical information through communication driven technology. This growing facet of healthcare allows individuals to access needed resources at home, at the office, or wherever they may be.
Digital Health (Mobile Health)
Digital Health is a bit more specific regarding what it provides to individuals. With the growing use of apps on smartphones, the mental health industry has also been moving toward instant messaging and communication through various apps. Talkspace is an application that works to connect you to a respected, licensed therapist all through your smartphone. A user can live chat or call a therapist in a matter of minutes rather than having to wait for an appointment. This is changing the way the industry is managing depression and anxiety driven mental health problems. Even individuals who are in the middle of experiencing a crisis that may negatively impact their psychological stability can pull their phone out of their pocket and begin working with a professional to aid them through the particular crisis.
Live video streaming is yet another aspect of technology that is closing the gap between healthcare professionals and their patients. Patients can now have a live video conversation with their respected healthcare professional.
All of these new forms of technological advancement can help save lives and create stronger stability for those managing mental health issues.