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3:15 - 4:00 pmSaturday, September 17
LK 101
Mobile mental health: understanding barriers & creating solutions
LK 101
Mobile mental health: understanding barriers & creating solutions
UC Davis
Harvard Medical School
Stanford University
Research Instructor, Stanford School of Medicine
Research has shown that mobile and wearable devices can improve the delivery of mental healthcare, particularly in the developing world where few psychotherapists and psychiatrists are available. Physiological,... Read more


Research has shown that mobile and wearable devices can improve the delivery of mental healthcare, particularly in the developing world where few psychotherapists and psychiatrists are available. Physiological, psychological, and behavioral metrics and real-time capturing of data can help detect mood disorders, relapses of addictions, relapses of psychotic disorders, as well as aid in greater understanding and awareness of one’s life patterns. Processing this data on a population level can help manage at-risk patients.

Meanwhile, more startups and entrenched players within the technology industry are recognizing unmet needs in this space. In 2015, over 70 new start-ups listed on AngelList focused on mental health. However, barriers such as patient privacy, government policy, clinician adoption, and patient adoption make implementation of such technologies difficult.

Our expert panel of patient advocates and clinicians will address the growing concerns about the privacy, legal issues, and efficacy surrounding the use of mobile devices in mental health care. Ultimately, digital mental health needs three approaches to succeed: a patient-centric approach is needed surrounding the use of patient-generated data; an evidence-based approach with reliable clinical studies; and clinical-based approach in which technologies work with clinicians, not around them.

Alison Darcy, PhD, is a Stanford University School of Medicine instructor, psychologist and healthcare designer with over 14 years experience in health tech. Her projects include a NIMH-funded study to optimize a smartphone app for eating disorders. Pioneered the use of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms for clinical training and treatment for anorexia nervosa.

John Torous, MD, is Clinical Informatics Fellow at Harvard Medical School, treating patients at Brigham and Womens’ Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. John serves as Editor-in-Chief of JMIR Mental Health. He conducts clinical studies of smartphone apps, and analyzes companies as Innovation Specialist for Behavioral Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Innovation Hub (iHub).

Steven Chan, MD MBA, at University of California, Davis, serves as American Psychiatric Association & SAMHSA MFP Fellow to the APA Council of Communications, the Committee on Mental Health Information Technology, and Workgroup on Mental Health & Psychiatric Apps. Steve’s ideas, thoughts, and research have been featured in JAMA, Healthcare, JMIR, Wired, PBS, and NPR Ideastream.

Steven Chan (@StevenChanMDwww.stevenchanMD.com) is regarded as an accomplished top thinker in the intersection of healthcare, behavior, medicine, business, and technology. Steve not only reports on the latest technology trends as contributor to iMedicalApps.com — a leading news site written by physicians for physicians on mobile health — but also develops cutting-edge research in the areas of asynchronous telepsychiatry, smartphones and mobile wearable devices for mental health, and applications for cultural psychiatry and underserved minority health.
Steve's ideas, thoughts, and research have been featured in JAMA, Healthcare, and JMIR (Journal of Medical Internet Research). He has designed and developed interactive voice user interfaces at Microsoft. With the support of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Steve serves as current American Psychiatric Association (APA) & SAMHSA MFP Fellow to the APA Council of Communications and Workgroup on Mental Health & Psychiatric Apps.
Dr. Chan draws from his extensive training at the University of California’s leading institutes — with computer science & engineering at UC Berkeley and informatics coursework at Stanford University; medical training at UCLA, UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City; and business & healthcare administration at UC Irvine. As a current resident physician in psychiatry & behavioral sciences at UC Davis School of Medicine, Dr. Chan treats a variety of patients, including veterans, felons, and the homeless.
Steve has an established reputation for business strategy and creativity. He has presented inspiring, well-researched talks at the national Health 2.0 conference in Silicon Valley, Institute for Psychiatric Services, the American Telemedicine Association, and for the California Healthcare Foundation Design-a-thon. Steve has also led winning collaborative teams at numerous health tech competitions, including the UC Berkeley-Genentech Hacking Health competition and the Health 2.0 San Francisco code-a-thon twice.
Giving back is important to Steve. He currently volunteers as preceptor at a UC Davis free clinic for the medically underserved. He mentors over 200 students for the Edge Interns program, designed to empower undergraduates and graduate students from around the United States. He has also trained future physicians in topics ranging from organic chemistry to computer science to topics in psychopharmacology and cultural and linguistic diversity in medicine. He has made healthcare technology accessible to his local community as co-founder of Health 2.0 Sacramento. And, he volunteers as third-in-command at the Kraken Con semi-annual pop culture convention for families and fans.

John Torous is a fourth year psychiatry resident at the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Training Program. He has a background in electrical engineering and computer sciences and received an undergraduate degree in the field from UC Berkeley before attending medical school at UC San Diego. As a resident, he has been active in investigating the potential of mobile mental health technologies for psychiatry and created his own apps for the iTunes and Android stores, served a principal investigator on a smartphone depression screening app study, and published numerous papers on the topic. He currently leads the American Psychiatric Association’s task force on the evaluation of commercial smartphone apps and in 2014 was awarded an Outstanding Resident Award for research by the National Institute of Mental Health. He is an assistant editor for the Harvard Review of Psychiatry and section editor for the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.

Alison Darcy moved to the Bay Area from Ireland in 2008 for a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine. She has always been an advocate and pioneer for e-MentalHealth. To date she has developed and is currently piloting a smartphone application that allows patients to track their eating behaviors, and develop a contextual understanding of their symptoms. She has pioneered the use of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms for clinical training in eating disorders. Early in her research career, Alison built the first Internet-delivered support group for people with Eating Disorders in Europe. In addition, she has acted as advisor to many innovative and like-minded tech companies. Currently she is funded under the Global Federation for Eating Disorders to explore the feasibility of offering internet-delivered guided self-help to parents of adolescents with anorexia nervosa. If feasible, this project will mark a major innovation in healthcare addressing disparities of access.

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