Data and technology are rapidly advancing mental health care. Better yet, women are leading the charge. This year, in honor of World Mental Health Day 2018, Quartet teamed up with Healthtech Women, an organization that empowers women to transform health care. In a room with 90 other health care enthusiasts, female leaders across the mental health technology space discussed the innovations our teams are advancing. I had the pleasure to present with four talented and wickedly smart women including: Aditi Deeg, Aimee Peters, Mariam Malik, and Nita Stella.
Aiming to improve mental health care access and quality, these women and their organizations are leveraging data and digital experiences. This includes opportunities such as:
- Utilize health data to understand the type and severity of mental health needs.
- Improve selection of care options based on a better understanding of needs.
- Facilitate easier and personalized access to mental health care through technology.
- Provide tools to providers to measure and track mental health indicators.
- Monitor health data to assess positive changes in overall health.
Innovation does not come easy. Challenges exist. During the panel we considered some of the challenges we’ll want to tackle next, including:
1. Patient engagement: Deep rooted stigma associated with mental health often leads to patients declining diagnosis and care. We’re also limited by patients’ familiarity and comfort with technology. Making care available within one’s home is a big step to make it more comfortable. Moreover, ensuring better integration of mental health with one’s usual health care – through primary care providers, family caregivers, home health care providers – will go a long way in helping people pay equal attention mental health and well-being.
2. Better data collection and sharing: In addition to traditional health data, as more organizations begin to collect and analyze new types of social, environmental, and behavioral information, the scope of learning and innovation from combining these sets of information is sky high. However, we know that this data is not only highly sensitive, but also difficult to share. We look to further innovation that will allow secure and compliant data sharing to increase the pace of innovation for better mental health access and quality.
3. Designing solutions to supplement current technologies: While current technology can go a long way, additional tools and solutions are needed — from supporting patients in crisis and helping prevent mental health challenges, to influencing policies around provider licensing. Integration with existing electronic health records and other care coordination technologies will be important to scale access to mental health care. Lastly, part of the opportunity ahead for mental health tech companies is to also partner with government to ensure telehealth is a viable solution for providers and patients.
It was energizing to see nearly one hundred people come together to talk passionately about mental health, and find scalable and impactful solutions to drive access and quality of care. This is a difficult issue that requires compassion, hard work, and creativity. It also requires a diverse group of people across various disciplines putting their heads together.
Thank you to everyone — including brilliant women in tech — who are working hard to innovate in the mental health space through programs and technology. The work is challenging but every day we are creating more access for those who need it most.