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World Mental Health Day: how technology can help patients

World Mental Health Day: how technology can help patients

Tech gets a bad rap when it comes to mental health, but it has huge potential in healthcare

World Mental Health Day on October 10 comes at a time when there’s a lot of discussion about the impact technology is having on our health – and in particular, on our mental health.

It feels like we’re reaching a point where we need to look limiting the negative impacts of technology, especially that of social media, while at the same time acknowledging the benefits that technology can have on our health. It's not just that plenty of people get inspiration and support from apps that connect to people they might not otherwise meet, it’s also that from a healthcare perspective, tech is already proving to be hugely beneficial when it comes to caring for patients.

For people going through active treatment, digital technology is increasingly giving them access to the right care, at the right time with online doctors appointments now giving people access to support that might not otherwise be available to them in surgeries that are bound by opening hours and locations far from home. While for the rest of the population, wearable devices that can monitor everything from heart rates to sleep patterns to steps per day are moving us out of an era of sick care and into an era of sickness prevention: stopping people from getting ill in the first place.

When it comes to mental health, companies like Ginger and Sanctus are making access to care easier too, by bringing appointments into the home and workplace. But technology doesn’t need to just replace old working models within healthcare, it can supplement them too.

At Janssen, we’re co-designing digital health solutions with patients and health systems across our portfolio. For example, for patients with major depressive disorders we are currently partnering with tech companies to create solutions that can be used by both patients with major depressive disorder and their doctors. Patients will get support on their mental health journey, allowing them to visualise their progress and inform their decision-making. For the clinical team, having access to patient self-reported health data will allow them to monitor patient progress, drive decision-making and maximise time spent at clinical appointments.