Digital Technologies in Mental Health Care

June 26, 2020
Natali Rauseo-Ricupero, MSW, LCSW

,
John Torous, MD, MBI

Sometimes, the book is better than the movie; sometimes vice versa. But there is a lot we don't know as to why in-person therapy works for some and why digital works for others. In this video, experts discuss the evidence.

DIGITAL PSYCHIATRY

Experts discuss the latest in digital mental health smartphone apps, digital clinics, and online therapies and telehealth, topics that are especially relevant as we are experiencing a radical transformation of health care.

Most people have access to both the internet and devices that can connect to providers, but do patients have tools to make digital health work for them? We are in a pivotal time now with COVID-19 where we have seen wider access being provided at least in highly populated areas. We are still at the beginning stages as we strive to provide wide access to a lot of different people.

The challenge will be to make sure evidence-based interventions can be properly converted to a new platform in the form of digital technology apps. Additionally, some interventions might be a easier than others. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are more formulaic and provide homework for patients. Psychodynamic approaches may be more nuanced than some of the shorter term interventions that we are seeing.

For some patients, it may be unclear exactly what happens in that translation. One useful analogy is comparing a book with a movie. Sometimes, the book is better than the movie; sometimes vice versa. But there is still a lot that we don't know as to why in-person therapy works for some and not for others. The principles are there but we are still learning about the evidence.