Bringing Your Clinic Up To Speed: Essential Technology for Every Mental Health Professional

7 Min Read

As an independent therapist at your own private mental health clinic, you likely have some unique daily challenges. For starters, it’s essential that you always strive to meet the healthcare needs of the various patients. This treatment is quality, regardless of their particular chief complaint or mental health concern. Failure to do so could put both them and your practice at risk.

Furthermore, you also have the added difficulty of being a small business owner, as well. That means that you are not only spending your day seeing patients, charting, and sending out prescriptions and referrals. You’re also working tirelessly to stay abreast of the responsibilities of running your own business. Because of this, it can easily feel as though you’re being pulled in a million different directions at work.

It’s no secret that this industry can start to take its toll on your own mental health. Even if you outsource other facets of your workload, there’s still so much left to be done. Fortunately, technology is completely changing the landscape of the mental health industry, making this much easier to accomplish.

From apps to help you manage your workload to new devices that can provide revolutionary breakthroughs in treatment. The future of mental health is undoubtedly very unpredictable yet also quite exciting. And if you want to remain relevant then it’s vital to consider these four tools and wholly embrace them.

Precision Medicine

Previously, trying to find the correct dosage of a particular medicine for a patient was largely a guessing game. You could make educated estimates based on their age, gender, height, and weight, but it was still an imperfect science. There was a significant margin of error built into every treatment protocol. Thus, it was normal to have to adjust and tinker with their dosage at every appointment.

These days, however, precision medicine is changing all that. Instead of eyeballing the correct amount of medication for a patient, a program will return a specific dosage. Using information such as their genetics, lifestyle, and other key considerations, the “one size fits all” method will become obsolete.

Creative Wearables

Mental health patients often do not have the option for clarity like patients with a chief complaint such as a cold or an open wound. Mental health patients often struggle with such a straightforward diagnosis. First, mental health patients may be resistant to meeting with you in the first place. Yet, even after they meet with you, their mental health concerns can make it difficult to be compliant with medication.

For these patients, wearables can completely transform how they approach dosing. These devices can address a wide range of concerns, such as forgetting doses and those who need tactile care. For instance, one device sends a signal to a sensor, letting patients know when it’s time to take their medicine. Plus, it will tell patients when their medications have gotten absorbed.

Another one can be simply slipped into a patient’s pocket or be worn around their wrist. These devices can provide them with the necessary stimulation to change their brain’s waves and soothe them during anxiety attacks. The most exciting aspect of this isn’t just these devices’ efficacy, but also how surprisingly affordable they can be. These factors further increase the reach of these products.

Virtual Reality

When video games and virtual reality first came out, there was a range of reactions. A significant portion of the response to it was a combination of restrained enthusiasm and a touch of necessary caution. After all, couldn’t VR further promote detachment and broaden the divide for people with an already tremulous grasp on reality? And isn’t escapism already largely considered an unhealthy coping mechanism?

The answer to these questions is, in fact, a resounding no. These concerns couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, VR is paving the way to help improve mental health care multifold. Thanks to the use of this novel technology, therapists can deliver treatment for addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, and OCD. One such use is through exposure therapy, albeit in a safe environment away from the threat in question.

Remote Care

For some patients, it’s not enough to have a desire to get treatment and start down their path toward recovery. They may also have other variables that can prevent them from actually seeking out care in the first place. This is especially true if they struggle with remembering to go to their appointments. Or issues can manifest if they have a disability that prevents them from commuting to your clinic.

For them, remote care can literally be life-changing. Instead of needing to find a ride to their appointment, they can log onto their app and connect with you. In addition, having healthcare at their fingertips can remove any obstacles that may prevent them from getting treatment. Undoubtedly, ensuring that your patients have access to online therapy that takes insurance can and will save lives.

The Future of Mental Health

Innovation is transforming mental healthcare, and it’s a highly exciting time for both patients and clinicians. Even just a few decades ago, we were institutionalizing patients who could otherwise function in society. Worse, we were performing lobotomies on patients and hoping for the best. Thankfully, we’ve made great strides in banishing these types of archaic techniques. However, refusing to adopt new tools can also be a form of unethical treatment.

Finding ways to incorporate these many tools into your practice can take time. It’s understandable if you’re not ready to utilize them all at once. However, try incorporating even one or two of them into your practice. If you do that, you can ensure that you provide your patients with the highest level of care. Plus, you’re making sure your business stays both relevant and solvent in the coming years.

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