We are just at the beginning of a new way to help patients: digital therapies. However, as of today, few apps, games or virtual reality software led to patient outcomes.
Personally, I think it is quite normal as mental health is a long-term ailment and cannot be treated in one single day. We need more long-term perspective on the real outcomes. Another crucial point to mention: in mental health, patients start to feel better when they are heard and understood by doctors, nurses and relatives; when they can put a word on the malaise they are feeling daily; when you take time with them.
Mental illnesses are a huge burden for the society as demonstrated in a recent study by The Economist.
In the next future there will be a combo of chemical drugs supported by apps that will help patients to better cope with their disease and to better adhere to the treatment schedule and regimen.
Find out more:
Akili (video games to treat autism, ADHD, depression, traumatic brain injury)
Pear Therapeutics (linking prescription drugs with apps)
Bravemind (PTSD treatment for veterans)
The Economist Report – Mental Health & Integration
How to solve medical issues by collaborative thinking? The hackathon finds its origins in the IT world. According to Wikipedia, the phenomenon started in 1999 in Calgary where 10 developers came together to avoid legal problems caused by export regulations of cryptographic software from the US.
This type of event is well-known in the IT world but much less in the medical one. The MIT is however leading the trend and driving the move with its website dedicated to hackathons in medicine & health innovation. Their website is rich and well-populated by press articles and resources.
Collaborative thinking could really make the difference and attendees seemed to like that!!! A perfect win-win situation for all.
Attendee testimonial Article from Wired