Moving mental health care delivery from hospital to home
Next step is mental health care delivery via mobile devices to the patient’s home
Over the past 30 years, the concept of community health care led to a shift in the delivery of mental health care from hospitals to community centers, said Professor Umberto Volpe, Antona, Italy.
The next step is from the hospital to the patient’s home with mental health care delivery via a mobile device.1
COVID-19 has accelerated this digital healthcare revolution, with many experts promoting an increasing use of telemedicine in the early days of COVID-19. It was argued that COVID-19 was providing the opportunity to “accelerate and bend the curve” on digital health,2 explained Professor Volpe, who highlighted a framework for telemedicine used during the COVID-19 pandemic that could be adapted for large scale mental public health.3
e-mental health will result in a radical transformation in the practice of psychiatry globally
Professor Volpe added that most of what a psychiatrist does can be carried out efficiently online, and telemedicine has now become a standard way for psychiatrists to communicate with their patients.
e-mental health is the new normal and will result in a radical transformation in the practice of psychiatry globally, but radical transformation often brings inequality in the dissemination of practice,4–6 said Professor Volpe:
Telemedicine is now a standard way for psychiatrists to communicate with their patients
Several e-mental health initiatives have been launched in Europe, and standardization and quality training are ongoing in Europe and worldwide. However, in South-East Asia, there is a need to adapt services, infrastructures, administrative settings, technical support and equipment to digital health settings, Professor Volpe explained.
Greater international collaboration is therefore needed to achieve global digital psychiatry.
Increased capacity and quality of care
e-mental health offers many opportunities for early intervention strategies
e-mental health is far more than videoconferencing, said Professor RM Krausz, Vancouver, Canada. It is leading to a paradigm shift in how we provide and deliver mental health.
He highlighted its particular importance in reaching out to and engaging young people for early intervention strategies.
“Online” is the preferred means of communication for young people well versed in online gaming and delivery of services, so e-mental health provides many opportunities to increase capacity and quality of care, said Professor Krausz.
A virtual clinic can help address the shortage of psychiatrists globally
He described a future of integrated mental health care provision5,6 through:
- A virtual clinic, which can help address the shortage of psychiatrists globally, and even be used across borders
- Web platform with easily accessible online resources including gaming tools to simulate risk and the influence of behavior on avoiding risk, online psychotherapy
- Face-to-face consultations
Professor Krausz concluded with three messages — e-mental health is the new normal, it is a global challenge, and it will lead to a paradigm shift in mental health provision and delivery.6