What I’ve Been Reading…Ecological Momentary Interventions, Pacifica’s 2MM, Augmented Mental Health and NHS Mental Health IT Exemplars

The last few weeks I have come across reading items that have either taught me a new concept in the mentaltech area or proven to be more evidence that adoption of digital mental health tools continue to accelerate.

1. Ecological Momentary Interventions (EMI) is a concept that was introduced to me by the guys at Pacifica, Dale Beerman and Taha Jangda, and again in a conversation with James Coe at Monsenso. EMIs are a sort of unit dose that encourages one to take a next best action in support of their wellbeing. That it happens in the moment of need without typical delay is its significance. Take a look at the meta-analysis at the link and let’s incorporate this concept in our planning and practice in this space as we analyze and develop solutions.

2. Pacifica’s 2MM users: In a really nice podcast episode of Digital Mental Health Today, Dale Beerman, CEO of Pacifica was interviewed by Daniel Couchman, host of this podcast, and shared a number of interesting facts and insights, most compelling being that Pacifica has 2MM subscribers. This number excited me as it seems to reveal: 1) that there is significant demand for such services, 2) that such traction does not necessarily take a long time to gain as this service was founded in 2015, but 3) as Dale professes, this traction is hard-won and challenging to maintain. I am sure there are other services that have similar and even greater traction, and I note to start tracking such more closely from my desk research. I state this instance because it just happened to trigger this insight for me, and because it was good to visualize that 2MM human beings have a therapist in their pocket versus not. I think this bodes well for all our mental health, and even more so for our “digital native” children and grandchildren.
3. Augmented Mental Health:, This Medium article by George Eleftheriou was a delightful discovery for as one who has been looking at this space for some time now, it did a most exceptional job of delineating the potential and risks of digital mental health, aka Augmented Mental Health. I really cannot recommend this read enough for those interested in this space.4. Mental Health IT Exemplars from UK NHS: This was a good article articulating examples of envisioned mentaltech excellence in various quarters of the UK’s NHS. I know, I know…many will say so what if they have not executed, and I agree. That said, I recall that even the iPhone was an exemplary description at some point and then the work of a significant ecosystem of leaders, funders, makers, designers and consumers brought it to fruition. May these descriptions be a foreshadow of a mental health future as splendid as the iPhone! I note this to fuel our vision in this area. Some examples of exemplar conditions aspired to include: 1) making records more mobile, as in resident on mobile devices, and by extension, making staff more mobile, 2) using digital to improve processes and line-of-sight integration across wards, 3) greater inclusion of family & carers in systems access, 2-way communications and automated paperless process, 4) greater access to telepsych and eXBT, and 5) better production and use of longitudinal mental health data for learning and improved outcomes.

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