Our country is facing a mental health crisis, with too few trained healthcare professionals to meet the need. Maybe your smartphone can help.
If you had told me ten years ago that doctors would be giving patients prescriptions for smartphone applications, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Fast forward to today, however, and digital therapeutics have become one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare. These smartphone apps have been cleared by the FDA for a range of conditions. One of the most recent is a program called Ensemble from the company Happify. The program uses cognitive behavioral therapy – CBT – to help patients deal with anxiety and depression. The 10-week program helps patients focus on positive goals while reducing negative thoughts. Progress is measured using clinically-validated assessment tools. This program – and others like it – are especially important right now as demand for mental health services has soared as a result of the COVID pandemic. There are not enough trained therapists to meet the needs, so digital therapeutics like Ensemble can help fill the gap.