What are the most interesting trends in mental health technology in 2019? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Mobile technologies (i.e., smartphones and tablets) provide exciting possibilities for improving the accessibility and quality of healthcare. Consequently, the development of mental health apps has seen rapid growth.
Some of this development has focused on extremely sophisticated apps that collect biometric data, allowing inferences about behavioural patterns. Some can even pick up on indicators that one needs help and provide a signal that intervention is needed before a crisis occurs. Another area of development has attempted to provide simple text-based access to support. Having the ability to send a text message and contact a crisis centre any time day or night is a simple, yet hugely significant, a step towards accessible mental healthcare. Other apps offer stand-alone programs that claim to improve cognitive performance, connect to a healthcare professional, or provide resources and tools to use throughout the day as needed.
Innovations in this area have allowed clinicians to offer more streamlined and coordinated care, monitor patient progress, and access knowledge and training opportunities. Many have expressed concern, however, about limited oversight, regulation, and evidence for efficacy. Consumers are forced to make decisions in the absence of these safeguards.
It is my strong belief that it is the responsibility of the companies and organizations to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the products being offered to the public. At the very least, the claims made about the utility should never go beyond the available evidence. At Basis, we’ve tried to be very transparent about what’s behind our approach, including referencing the research studies that show efficacy. In general, I’d like to see more transparency behind what various companies are offering. If someone is making a claim about the efficacy of a product, the burden is on them to support that claim.