The impact digital solutions can have in the field of mental health

May 9, 2016

mental

Mihai Bran is the co-founder of Inomedica, an NGO involved in promoting mental health using digital solutions. The first two platforms developed gather relevant information about depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

Mihai is coming to ICEEfest to talk about Atlas, a marketplace solution for online video psychotherapy, coaching and counselling services. Before that, Lorena Macnaughtan talked with Mihai about his current and future projects:

What is the impact digital health solutions can have in the field of mental health?

         – Mental health could have great benefits from digital health solutions but first of all we have to accept that it’s time for a change (from my personal experience only a few persons involved in mental health acknowledge it).

          – In fact, mental health is one of the medical domains that is best suited for a digital revolution. But for this revolution to happen there is need for a change of perspective for both mental health specialists and patients.

We have to accept the fact that by using digital solutions we can improve our practice, we can create and access better services

          – Using digital solutions, we can easily educate and inform our patients, we can remotely monitor their evolution and status, we can provide our services in remote areas and to people with no access to traditional services – for example using VR therapy protocols or online video diagnosis and treatment sessions. 

Virtual reality: why would doctors be interested in that?

          – Virtual reality could help doctors learn and train and could also provide therapeutical solutions for different pathologies.

          – Let’s imagine a neurosurgeon that before a very difficult brain surgery is exercising in a VR environment. Or let’s imagine medical students learning anatomy using VR. Wouldn’t that be great?

          – In mental health, VR is already used for treating specific phobias or PTSD. There are studies confirming the efficacy of VR therapy and there are protocols developed. It seems that the US is leading the field…

bran1

          – I was involved in a VR project that was designed to show the ordinary people and media representatives the reality of the “schizophrenic world”.

          – The environment is supported by an Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 device and was used at different social events.

          – By recreating the visual and auditory hallucinations in the VR we tried to produce/induce strong emotions to users and by this to point out the difficulties a person with schizophrenia has to face in his/her struggle with the disease. The project is part of anti-stigma campaign.

From the many projects you have been involved it, which one is dearest to you and why?

         – My dearest project is Atlas. It’s not live yet but it will be in a few days (we are in a close beta testing stage right now).

I can tell a few things about it 😉

  • It’s an online video psychotherapy, coaching and counselling marketplace solution
  • It has many benefits for both the specialists willing to provide their services online and for the final clients looking for a convenient and less time consuming method to access that service
  • It is secure, it is easy to use and it has an integrated payment method
  • Basically if you’re looking for a psychotherapist, for example, you just have to enter the website, look for the psychotherapist that best matches your search, select a convenient date and time, schedule an online meeting and then pay for the selected service using a secured method
  • As security was one of our greatest concerns, all the online sessions are encrypted

         – The platform can generate invoices, you can share documents with your client/specialist, you can track your progress and it also has many more cool features that you’ll have to discover when it will be launched.

Recently, you are a co-funder of a digital health company… how does it feel to be a doctor entrepreneur?

          – Yes, indeed, I’m the co-founder of a digital health start-up. I took the risk of leaving my comfort zone and try something new last year 😉

         – It all started with a beer with my best friend Bogdan when we both decided to give a shot and to try to make our digital health ideas come true.

Our start-up is an interesting mix of because I’m a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and Bogdan is an IT “geek” and the solution we tried to develop is located where mental health and digital meet

          – We managed to put together a valuable and enthusiastic team and right now we are very close to the big event of going live.

         – For a doctor is not easy to become an entrepreneur at least in Romania… You have to face many challenges and to learn a lot of new things that you’re not used with (for example marketing 😉 )

What are you excited about ICEEhealth?

         – For me is the first event of this kind. I’m quite used to medical conferences and congresses but never attended such a large tech event.

          – I’m pretty excited to meet people with similar interests and to see what the new trends and directions are.

Discover the ICEEfest 2016 Agenda and find more about ICEEhealth.

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