Mental health disorders are more common than they appear and have become a silent epidemic in the United States. Recently, the uncertainties and anxieties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic made the picture even more complex.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly one in five American adults has a mental disorder. In 2020, this represented 52.9 million people. Of course, there are mental illnesses with less serious consequences. But others are severe and cause major behavioral or emotional changes – such as schizophrenia, major depression, or panic disorder.
Considering this, you should develop a mental health app that can help your hospital or clinic track patients remotely.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Mental Health App?
Americans are increasingly connected online through mobile devices. Most people in the United States (97%) own any kind of cellphone right now, and at least 85% own a smartphone. This has led more people to use remote apps and services, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In 2021, the Organization for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) revealed that the use of mental health apps during the pandemic grew by 200 percent.
Having a mental health app helps patients be more connected to professional support services. This can be crucial in extreme cases, such as suicide prevention – when the patient just needs to be heard by someone, even remotely.
Some online therapy apps recommended by doctors are Feeling Good (for depression), 7Cups (for anxiety), and distrACT (to prevent self-harm and suicide).
Considerations for Developing a Mental Health App
There are already several tested and recommended apps out there, so you don’t have to think about developing a new one from scratch. However, it can be quite useful to create at least your own mental health management system.
If you think this is a good investment (your patients will certainly agree!), here are some important features you should offer:
Missing appointments can worsen a severe mental disorder condition. That’s why it is essential to offer an app that issues automated appointment reminders, notifying your patients as the date and time of the appointment approaches. This can be done in several ways: personalized alarms, SMS messages, or even automated, personalized recorded calls.
Claims Submission Feature
Submitting claims is a time-consuming and delicate process. Worse: it is subject to small errors that can result in claim denials. To prevent this from happening and ensure the refunds, try offering the claims submission/management feature and digitizing the workflows.
Personalized Treatment Plans
Patients struggling with mental disorders need personalized treatments that are planned and structured according to their needs. After all, what works for one person may not have any effect on another with the same disorder. Consider including a tool in the app where your therapists can select the treatment plan best suited to the individual needs of their patients, and even create exclusive plans for more delicate cases.
Electronic Medical Records
EMRs allow doctors to access all patient health information during a therapy session. They can quickly check diagnoses made by other professionals, drugs that have already been prescribed to the same patient, the evolution of their clinical condition, etc. Invest in integration between the app and EMRs to help your clinic or hospital professionals. It will be easier for them to add updates to patients’ records in real-time in case of new developments.
Remember those old prescriptions with the unintelligible doctor’s handwriting? Well, that’s a thing of the past: E-prescriptions are a faster and more convenient solution. It allows doctors to send the prescription directly to the drugstore, which can prepare the order in advance for the patient to collect. For patients, electronic prescriptions also avoid losing a prescription or taking an incorrect dosage, as all the data is accessible in the app and can even be resent by their email at any time.
Finally, a mental health app can help streamline every medical billing step. When done manually, billing is subject to different people and the possibility of errors. When you automate the process, medical coding, submitting claims, and patient data verification become much faster. Traditionally time-consuming steps can be done with one or two clicks, and even the payment process is easier. This way you also improve your income with revenue cycle management best practices.
Mental Health App Monetization Strategies
This is the moment when you start to think about how much your mental health management system app will cost and if it’s really worth investing in it. In addition to all the benefits listed above, which will justify the investment in the long run, there are also some monetization possibilities, such as:
- Sell a paid version of the app, with more features than the trial version.
- Offer “in-app purchases,” extra content that the user can purchase to improve or customize the app. Some examples: include a digital diary for your patient to record experiences and changes in behavior, tools to monitor the patient’s routine, etc.
- Sell mobile advertising to other companies.
- Create a subscription process with different plans that entitle a certain time to exclusive features or customization possibilities.
An App With Unlimited Benefits
The COVID-19 pandemic popularized remote medical appointments through Telehealth tools. And although this was beneficial mainly to prevent the disease from spreading, remote care was also advantageous for treating and monitoring mental health issues.
With increasing cases of mental disorders of varying intensities, sometimes people need a push to seek help. This push can be a mental health application, which indicates paths and possibilities for those who feel lost and alone, sometimes desperate.
The professionals at your clinic can suggest and adopt different apps already on the market. But you should consider developing and offering your own mental health management system app. The benefits are limitless, for patients and professionals alike – and even for your revenue cycle in general!