How Virtual Platforms are Playing a Role in Improving Mental Health Treatments

The importance of mental health is becoming more apparent. Society is now realizing how severe emotional distress can lead to physical conditions and potentially even drug abuse and suicide.

As a result, increased measures are being implemented to ensure individuals get the care they need. Technology is playing a major role in making treatments more convenient and accessible. This article will review the virtual platforms that are improving mental healthcare.

Teletherapy and Apps

It can be difficult for patients to come forward and reach out for the help they need. Imagine doing so only to find out they will have to wait weeks just to attend a session. It can get pretty discouraging.

Teletherapy introduces a convenient way for patients to get the care they need, at a convenient time and in a comfortable setting such as their own home.

Research shows that there are mental health professional shortages in certain parts of the country while other regions have an abundance of doctors that treat emotional issues. Teletherapy eliminates location-based limitations. It allows people to access treatment from doctors that may be across the country or across the world.

In addition to therapy sessions online, patients also have access to phone apps such as meditation apps, virtual reality apps, augmented reality apps, and video game technology that can be downloaded for a minimal cost. These have shown to be effective in stimulating the brain to heal itself.

These options can be low-cost and convenient. They make it easy for patients to reach out for the care they need. They eliminate the time and expenses associated with commuting, they are easy to schedule, and they are effective in helping individuals overcome emotional issues.

Digital Pills

Many patients require medication to keep them on track. Without taking this medication, they may engage in dangerous behaviors that hurt themselves and others. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people with mental health issues to skip a routine medication due to forgetfulness, side effects or not feeling as if they need to be taking their pills.

Digital pills provide a solution in ensuring patients stay on their meds.

The pills contain indigestible sensors that transmit medical data after the pill is taken. They help medical professionals keep track of when medication is taken so they can assist patients in achieving optimal mental health.

Once ingested, the sensor releases an electric signal when it comes into contact with stomach acid. This works with an adhesive patch placed on the patient’s body that collects information regarding when the pill was taken as well as vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, and activity levels.

The information is sent to the patient’s smartphone where they can add information about how they are feeling. The app uploads to a secure website where it can be viewed by the doctor.

The doctor can assess the data to determine how the medication is affecting the patient. They can also share it with other providers if the patient grants permission for them to do so.

Virtual Clinical Trials

Clinical trials play a major role in the development of healthcare treatments in relation to both physical and mental issues. During the pandemic, many clinical trials were put on hold to avoid contact between doctors and study participants.

But as time wore on and the pandemic didn’t seem to be going anywhere, clinicians learned to adjust their studies to virtual platforms. Wearables were used to record vital statistics and video conferencing was integrated to determine the effects of medication. The at-home collection of urine and blood samples was also made possible.

Taking clinical trials to a virtual forum made it easier for patients to participate and for doctors to determine treatment effects. It allowed for the continuous development of mental health treatments that are so valuable in pandemic times. It aided in the production of the vaccine and other medications that might end the pandemic for good.

What’s more, virtual studies eliminate locational limitations. This allows researchers to test products on different cultural groups in different areas of the world to determine if genetic traits and environment have an outcome on how treatments interact with the individual.

While clinicians generally study a wide variety of ethnic groups when testing out new products, it can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Turning to virtual means reduces costs and produces results quickly so the population can benefit from treatments sooner.

Conclusion

Caring for mental health is so important. Incorporating virtual platforms adds convenience to treatment processes while cutting down on time and expenses. It provides researchers with the data they need to make accurate assessments round the clock.

It is hopeful that technology will continue to play a role in making mental health treatments even more accessible so everyone can get the care they need.

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Dr. Alddo Molinar is an anesthesiologist, based in Martins Ferry, OH, who received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

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Alddo Molinar

Alddo Molinar

Dr. Alddo Molinar is an anesthesiologist, based in Martins Ferry, OH, who received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

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