Understanding a person’s mental state is not as laid back as we think. It involves numerous observations based on cognitive assessments; measuring these assessments is the hardest part of mental health diagnosis.
Smartphones and wearable technology provide an opportunity to measure these cognitive assessments that traditional neuropsychiatry uses to diagnose and measure behavior. The number of psychiatrists believing in artificial intelligence (AI) is gradually increasing. They are ready to apply new technological tools in their assessment and diagnoses process. Some of these new methods and tools are:
- A Machine Learning Algorithm: An individual’s likelihood for developing psychosis can be predicted using machine learning algorithms. Mental conditions like hallucinations, delusions, and schizophrenia are observed under this method. Based on these observations it helps in predicting the risks of developing psychosis. The algorithms are based on observations that are specific, with subtle linguistic differences that occur in patients with risk. It is an exciting development that aids in acquiring valuable medical information for therapy and disease management. This new computable and mountable machine learning approach helps to achieve accuracy and gather important medical information.
- Wrist Band Monitoring Emotions: It can alert users about their emotions in real-time, and allows to identify situations that affect their emotions (bipolar, anxiety, depression). Identifying these situations, environments and habits that affect the emotional state can be beneficial in improving patients’ conditions.
- Virtual Reality Tool: Virtual Reality tools are highly helpful in identifying early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. It helps identify the poor functions within the brain region that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. For example, the VR system shows that patients with mild cognitive impairment, perform worst and thus help identify the patients at high risk. It is like a warning sign of the disease, even before one becomes aware of it.
- Stress Measuring Tool: A vital tool in stress management technology, this tools provides assistance in measuring one’s stress levels. Humans usually tend to ignore numerous signals that lead to stress. These tools correlate sweat gland activity to cortisol levels in the patients’ body. Therefore this technology gives immediate arousal measurements into stress level and interprets that signal into the cognitive zone. The stress measuring tool is more useful for people in high-stress positions, such as pilots to ensure that they are capable of performing job safely.
- Personal Health Records: Also called electronic health record, PHR gives transparency and improves patient engagement, encouraging patients to participate in their own wellness outside the hospital settings. It gives access to lab results, appointments, medications, prescription refills, etc. It also shares patient information to facilitate collaboration and information consistency among multiple providers/specialists.
How does advancement in technological development offer support to mental health?
- Develops streamlined standardized language for digital protocols to enable efficient delivery of information.
- Educate patients and practices on technology-based mental health interventions.
- Validate new digital health technologies to diagnose and treat mental disorders as well as monitor the functioning of the brain that is associated with the potential or ongoing disease.
- Provides healthcare providers with day-to-day information about how people live in their environment; this technology helps seniors with mental health conditions.
- Improves efficiency and robustness of mental health assessments through automatic sensing and further helps in better patient care.
- Patients’ needs and goals are met by these web-based tools that are accessible and scalable in measuring cognition.
- Sharing, managing, securing and storing patient behavioral records enhance care quality and efficiency by eliminating unnecessary tests, enables accurate development of treatment plan and reduce care costs.
- Smartphones add a new level of innovation to the treatment as they consist of user-friendly mobile applications, multimedia presentations and high-tech movement sensors that allow care providers to develop more intelligent interventions.
- Easily able to spot patients that come from a background with early developmental barriers such as neglect, abuse and unhealthy relationships with close family members.
- Also, internet-based support groups help in maintaining the anonymity and comfort the struggling patients.
What assumptions are made regarding digital measurements?
It is generally believed that behavioral sciences do not make use of technology, despite the modern advances in the scientific understanding of psychiatric disorders. This perception is derived from the historical observations that mental health practitioners bypass innovations and the practice remains bound to intuition-based assessments. This approach allows the practice to remain patient-centered, but it also deprives patients from receiving optimal care.
For example, selecting medications to treat depression based on the potential advantage of an anticipated side-effect. But by using wearable devices mobile devices offers unique opportunities to redefine these limits of practice towards a new data-driven future.
Related Article: Improving behavioral and Mental Health using Technology-based Tools
Measurement tool such as smart-phone monitors physical activity, and social trends that permits to quantify the behavior over long periods of time. It provides an outcome and generates data-scientific approach towards understanding the patients’ behavioral patterns. Thus, continuous measurement offers useful alerts for medications, recording, storing and other periodic assessment.
As mental health technology progresses with some advancements in technology; there are thousands of Americans who can benefit from better access to mental care. Developing such user-oriented features improves the usage of measurement tools and empowers users. It is also important to maintain the ethical limits of returning health-related data and to set appropriate expectations around the value of clinical information that is being measured and returned. The above-mentioned tools and technologies can deliver considerable benefits in all aspects of the healthcare field.