An experienced psychiatrist based in New York, Dr. Susan Turner currently assists patients at her private practice in Manhattan's Flatiron District. As with most fields in modern society, medicine has evolved greatly in the last decade alone, and psychiatrists like Dr. Susan Turner are fast becoming familiar with the integration of digital health with their work.
Digital health constitutes various technologies that facilitate access to healthcare. These include wearable devices, edible sensors, mobile apps and artificial intelligence, among the many advancements that connect today’s patients with practitioner expertise. While the human touch is irreplaceable, digital health has benefited the mental healthcare industry and shows the potential to do more.
One such emerging benefit is the bridging of gaps in healthcare in places around the USA where traditional facilities are non-existent or insufficient. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, merely 65 percent of non-metropolitan counties in the country have a psychiatrist; fewer than 50 percent have a psychologist. Even metropolitan areas have few clinics outside of hospitals. Digital health facilities are beginning to address this dearth by supplementing in-patient care with access to professional help online.
Digital health also has the potential to reduce the bureaucracy associated with managed care and wait times. Once partnered with a digital solutions company, healthcare providers may integrate a network that can both open up access to patients and cut down wait times. More importantly, as a supplement to traditional healthcare, digital health would make work more efficient for providers.
This increased accessibility through digital health has distinct conveniences for older adults as well. As technology becomes a more familiar part of life for all age-groups, digital health can, for example, connect psychiatrists with older patients who may have depression or anxiety, providing flexible treatment options and preventing isolation. Digital literacy can thus be a powerful tool for elderly adults to receive more comprehensive healthcare.
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