eMental Health is the use of information technology (ICT) to support and improve mental health; it includes online resources, social media and smartphone applications, as well as videotelephony.
It used to be the new frontier, ungoverned but time has led to a maturity such that the novel is now commonplace and what was once Tomorrow's World is here today. From the experience of the networked Scandinavian countries, to the populations that novel techniques are reaching out to; QR codes in the UK, teens in Australia; from determining levels of Internet Addiction in Poland, to the use of that medium to treat anxiety disorders.
An innovation from Law Enforcement has massive implications for patients recording consultations. Other experiments with risk management led to the failure of ‘Radar’, but paved the way for social care providers to develop safer systems that can care for large populations with few therapists.
It is this use of Artificial Intelligence that may be the most challenging. Over 90 companies are developing the use of AI in diagnostics and related fields, with 14 US and Canadian hospitals involved with IBM's Watson. Will Drs become unnecessary? However the most innovative aspect of ICT in medicine is in research whether to greatly accelerate the process, or to ensure that educational tools genuinely answer patients’ questions.
eHealth is an expanding field, that holds new promise, and opens question about who we are, what is our role, who do we care for and how; that today, ‘No man is an Island’, everyone should be connected.
Disclosure of interest
The author declares that he has no competing interest.