A Psychiatrist in Your Pocket: Could Mental Health Apps Be the Next Big Thing?

Much of mobile health technology's big splashes have involved creating gadgets that track fitness more effectively or make miniaturized versions of heavy hospital and ICU equipment: electrocardiograms, telemedicine video cameras, thermometers, and pulse oximeters.

This article published with permission from iMedicalApps.com.

Much of mobile health technology’s big splashes have involved creating gadgets that track fitness more effectively or make miniaturized versions of heavy hospital and ICU equipment: electrocardiograms, telemedicine video cameras, thermometers, and pulse oximeters.

But what about psychiatric issues? Psychiatric issues often require face-to-face human contact with a psychiatric provider to provide diagnoses and assessments. Technology often does not play a role in mental health encounters.

However, getting patients this face time may not be financially sustainable and scalable, argue researchers from organizations including the World Innovation Summit for Health, Imperial College London, and the Supreme Council of Health in Qatar. They believe that technology should play a more prominent role in psychiatric disorders and believe that Google has already laid out a suitable framework for constructing technological innovations.

Their paper in September 2014’s Health Affairs discusses how psychiatric conditions are anticipated to cost the global economy US$16 trillion from 2011 through 2030 through lost labor and capital output, outpacing that of four other noncommunicable disease states — cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes — with a combined price tag of US$30 trillion.

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