Mental health and wellness is like the old Frank Sinatra song “Love and Marriage” – you can’t have one without the other.
“Mental health is part of overall health,” says the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and, “Just like we can’t be well without good mental health, we can’t be healthy if we neglect the rest of our body.”
Since overall health depends on being both mentally and physically sound, health and wellness tech companies vary in their approaches towards improving healthcare.
It’s not a question of mental wellness vs health because their solutions benefit both simultaneously.
For example, if you get sick or injured, chances are you’ll probably miss work, and this will add mental stress about whether you’ll be able to catch up or even be able to pay bills.
Likewise, if you suffer from mental health issues, this can negatively affect your eating and sleeping habits, which in turn can make you physically ill.
Tech companies are doing great work innovating the next generation of healthcare solutions, so here’s how their technologies are helping to improve mental health and care.
Mobile apps, blockchains, and automated bots all employ technologies that connect patients with providers in a multitude of ways.
Apps, blockchains, and chatbots can all work complementary with one another.
Let’s start by looking at mobile apps.
A mobile device can provide the bridge between a patient and provider where there is direct communication between the two.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Mobile devices like cell phones, smartphones, and tablets are giving the public, doctors, and researchers new ways to access help, monitor progress, and increase understanding of mental wellbeing.”
With a mobile app, patients can ask questions to their practitioners directly while healthcare specialists can send over patient test results, lab work, and other data at lightning speed — all without having to leave the home or office.
Mobile apps are a quick and efficient means of sharing information while giving both patients and providers a piece of mind with their ease of communication.
Likewise, mobile apps can help schedule in-person appointments, and for those in rural areas where mental health professionals might not be readily available, mobile apps can also help schedule remote therapy sessions.
Apart from logistical services, there are many mental health apps available that help users practice mindfulness.
For example, there are mindfulness apps that give expert tips and exercises to help users reduce stress.
Other apps help users learn and practice yoga and meditation.
Mobile apps are great tools for connecting patients with providers, but how secure is that information?
The need for patient data to be secure and confidential gives rise to the adoption and integration of blockchain technology in healthcare.
A mobile portal is great for sharing data between patients, practitioners, insurers, and drug companies, but that data needs to be secured first, otherwise there may be breaches in confidentiality and trust.
With blockchain technology, each “block” of data contains a unique digital fingerprint that’s time-stamped whenever alterations are made. Together, the blocks form one inmutable chain with the data being stored in multiple locations, decentralizing data and making it virtually tamper-proof.
When a patient’s data is being shared between physicians, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and insurers, it’s easy for the patient to lose track of how many third parties have access to their data.
Blockchain companies not only let the patient see who has access to their data, but allow the patient to control who sees their data and for how long.
If mental health patient data were compromised, the patient could easily be exploited by bad actors who have access to their data and who know how to leverage it against them.
For example, if someone is suffering from dementia and their data were to be leaked, fraudulent actors could try to get them to empty their bank accounts when they aren’t in a healthy state of mind.
Companies that keep blockchain in their toolkits keep patient data private and secure, so no outside forces can get at it.
So far we’ve seen how mobile apps help connect patients with providers and how blockchains can make those connections more secure.
Next, let’s add an element of automation to round out the experience.
Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), a lot of the work of mobile apps can be automated.
Automation in health and wellness technology; however, must be user-friendly and it must be accurate!
So, let’s talk about what automation looks like in connecting patient with provider.
Say a patient wants to know when their next appointment is or if their test results have been processed.
Do they need to talk to a real person to get that information, or can that information be automatically available to them?
In this example, the latter describes automation. Essentially, automation is about streamlining relevant information and relaying that to the user in a way that is easily digestible — both accurate and user-friendly.
Depending on the mobile app, a patient can either ask the computer for results and the computer spits back the results, or the computer can anticipate and send the results to the patient as soon as they are inputted by the provider.
Mobile apps, blockchain, and automation are all ways in which technology is providing help to health and wellness, both physical and mental, by connecting patients and providers.
So far, we’ve given just a tiny taste of the types of technologies that are helping the mental health industry.
Beyond connecting patients and providers through mobile apps, blockchains, and bots, technology is playing a major role in mapping the brain, identifying neurological disorders, and discovering new drugs — not to mention all the various wearable technologies like fitness trackers and health monitors.
Tech companies working in these areas are at the cutting edge of mental health innovation, but you don’t need to be a health tech giant to earn favorable media coverage.
A successful health and wellness tech PR strategy is just as available and just as important for a startup as it is for an established industry giant.
Every company, every technology, and every solution can all fit together within the overall health tech industry, and collaborations between startups and corporations are quite frequent in this space.
Is your company or startup about to undergo a new partnership?
Does your business have a new product, service, or feature to announce?
Have you figured out how to do one thing really well that nobody else has?
Then no matter what your size or how bootstrapped you are, you already have all the makings of a successful digital PR campaign. It’s just a question of getting your message in front of the right journalist, at the right publication, at the right time.
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