The following article is a part of conference coverage from Psych Congress 2020 Virtual Experience, held virtually from September 10 to 13, 2020. The team at Psychiatry Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in psychiatry. Check back for more from the Psych Congress 2020.
Digital health technologies such as mobile health, wearable sensors, telemedicine, and information technologies have been incorporated into some aspects of patient care; however, these advances have yet to be integrated into standard clinical management or intervention. These findings, derived from responses to a survey, were presented at Psych Congress 2020 Virtual Experience, held online from September 11 to 13, 2020.
During 2019, questionnaires were distributed across the United States through e-mail, in person, or during educational presentations. A total of 143 clinicians (20% psychiatrists, 18% nurse practitioners, 17% pharmacists, 5% residents or students, and other healthcare professionals) responded. The participants were surveyed about what types of digital health technology they used, what types of potential barriers existed, what aspects of clinical care would be least or most improved with digital health technology, and about how they were educated about the use of digital health technology.
The respondents reported using electronic health records (85%), telemedicine (47%), digital assessments or interventions (24%), health applications (24%), decision support systems (22%), medication adherence technology (18%), health sensors (2%), and artificial intelligence (1%).
The clinicians felt that challenges with integrating digital health technology into their clinical workflow (40%) and problems with patient comfort using technology (40%) were the most common barriers to implementation of technology. Additional barriers included difficulties with security (34%), infrastructure (28%), usability (28%), and technical knowledge (21%), among others.
Respondents were asked to rank 5 items in order of what aspects of clinical practice would be most and least improved by the integration of digital health technology. Clinicians ranked aspects to be improved as: quality of care or clinical outcomes, patient access, efficiency, personalized medicine, and cost reduction. Aspects of mental health care least likely to be improved by using digital health technology included cost, efficiency, personalized medicine, quality of care or clinical outcomes, and patient access.
Most clinicians reported learning about digital health technology from colleagues at work (61%) or via internet search engines (35%), websites (34%), digital or print publications (30%), and social media (23%), among others.
A limitation of this study was the lack of diversity among healthcare workers. Although there was sufficient representation from psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists, there were 3 or fewer responders among psychologists, licensed therapists, administrators, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, and clinical directors.
The survey results indicated that clinicians have successfully integrated digital health technology into telepsychiatry and record management. Although most clinicians felt that the quality of and access to care would be improved by extended integration of technology into standard care, few survey respondents indicated digital health technologies being used for patient engagement or intervention.
The survey responses highlight the need for organized educational programs that instruct clinicians on how to use and integrate digital technologies into clinical practice.
Disclosure: The study authors are employees of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.
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Meyer C, Tacelosky M, Sadat F, Rohman P, Moghadam R, Singh S. The use of digital health technologies in mental healthcare: results from a survey of healthcare professionals. Presented at: Psych Congress 2020 Virtual Experience; September 10-13, 2020. Poster 209.