Daily Briefing – August 28, 2019

“Widespread use of telehealth throughout the U.S. health care system — and especially in home-based senior care — hasn’t yet reached its tipping point, American Well Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Antall told Home Health Care News. But new survey findings released Tuesday suggest it may be coming in the not-too-distant future. “Perhaps it’s both a surprise and not a surprise that we haven’t yet reached telehealth’s tipping point — the moment of critical mass in which telehealth goes from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an ‘essential’ part of the care experience,” Antall said. “It’s true that, while the CHRONIC Care Act empowered Medicare to reimburse for a wider breadth of services, including those with stroke or end-stage renal disease, telehealth coverage is still limited to specific use cases.””

“The World Health Organization estimates that up to 15% of the population experiences mental health disorders. That has significant consequences. For example, suicide is the second- or third-leading cause of death for young people in most countries. And as the population ages, the rate of dementia is set to triple over the coming decades. At the same time, access to mental health professionals is sorely lacking in many parts of the world, particularly in low-income countries. India, for example, has a population of 1.3 billion served by only 9,000 psychiatrists. But technological advances can help. Smartphones and wearable sensors offer people the ability to monitor themselves and to benefit from the way deep learning can analyze the data. Indeed, these techniques are already being used to detect the changes in mood that indicate bipolar disorder or to detect people at risk of depression. So the scene is set for artificial intelligence to become a disruptive force in psychiatry. Indeed, that’s exactly what many observers predict.”