With the exception of writing letters or sending information via “snail mail”, we all generally communicate over long distances by means of technology. When counseling services are provided this way, they can be called “distance counseling”.
Some phone systems market themselves especially for healthcare organizations, and for good reason. Not all phone systems are the same. One error that clinicians (and therefore clinical practices) often commit is to take the technology they use in their personal lives and bring it into their healthcare practice, assuming that it is adequate. Traditional phone lines and cellular service is quite secure. However, additional features such as voicemail, faxing, and texting bring added risks to healthcare information. Group practices and larger larger organizations utilize features such as setting on-call procedures, ring groups, automated attendants, and administrator control over all phone accounts. Clients put their trust in their healthcare providers to protect their private information. Using ordinary or traditional phone lines, voicemail, faxing, and texting can jeopardize patients’ sensitive information.
The use of mobile devices and mobile apps have become the norm. Mobile apps solve people's need for purchases, information, connection, health and nutrition tracking, and mental health. Deciding which mobile app to use for a specific mental health need, such as managing depression, can be difficult. There are thousands of apps to choose from and the information available on the apps’ sales pages are often not adequate to make an informed decision.
Clinicians need to be competent at reviewing apps before recommending them to clients. Individuals seeking to utilize apps also need guidance in making a smart decision. Professional organizations have carefully created guidelines for evaluating apps for mental health. For example Raymond Barrett, our CEO, as a member of the American Telemedicine Association has been on an ATA task force for establishing tool for evaluating mobile apps for depression.
I have briefly addressed the topic of Digital Therapeutics in a previous blog entry that focused on ADHD and Esteem Therapeutics.
New to this term? "Digital Therapeutics" is an emerging form of technology in healthcare that combines software programs, devices, and various interventions to generate an umbrella of caregiving that covers all the parties involved in treatment. Technological aspects are used in conjunction with other forms of "traditional" treatment such as therapy or medication. Patients and caregivers collaborate and are kept in sync with updated information that is readily available to all in order to optimize patient outcomes.
Digital therapeutics addresses a wide range of conditions and provides a myriad of high-quality options for personalized patient care. Digital therapeutics forms an independent category of a broader healthcare program and is distinct from diagnostic and telehealth products. Implementing a program will involve a network of therapy options in which each component of care reinforces and supports the other.
Often the treatment of ADHD is fragmented and difficult to track, not only for parents and caregivers but for the person with ADHD as well. I was very impressed and inspired by Esteem Therapeutics. This new and emerging technology, known as digital therapeutics, empowers both the person with ADHD and their entire care team, with the tools to be very effective in combatting ADHD.
Great tools such as Esteem Therapeutics can only be effective if they are utilized. Esteem Therapeutics is a very well-designed platform that is easy to use and understand. The user quickly experiences how engaging and effective it is. I expect clients will really enjoy using it.
Social media has a wealth of information. This great amount of data allows us to look at trends, discover correlations, and make predictions. We can now use it to alert people of mental health needs and send them helpful resources.
How do we as therapists help our clients with digital dating? A new study sited at the American Psychological Association links swiping with self-esteem issues. Dee Wagner, BC-DMT, LPC, primary creator and instructor of our Digital Dance online course recently wrote a blog post on her site LustierLife.com that addresses profile writing in the digital dating process. Dee shares:
In this video and blog post, I share my experience switching from using paper charts to using a practice management program.
If I never made the switch I may have burned out from the administrative tasks of running my private pactice.