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  • Writer's pictureSoumya Choudhary

Digital Phenotyping in help of a future global crisis

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Picture a GLOBAL CRISIS similar to the one that the world is going through right now. Do you picturise more pandemics caused by viruses in the future? What if, we told you there is another pandemic shortly, caused by the failure to address the urgent need for better mental healthcare. It is possible and it is going to happen. The current global crisis has sown the seeds for an upcoming mental health crisis that has been long overdue.

Mental Health America, a leading non-profit organisation, estimates that 18 percent of Americans ( more than 43 million people ) have a mental health condition. With numbers soaring high, the chance to get an accurate diagnosis pretty much seems like a basic right. Unfortunately, around 56% of adults in America are never a recipient of any treatment or even diagnosis. The system is facing enormous challenges and the biggest of them is accessibility to mental health care services.

Time is pressing. What could be better than employing a medium that is super fast, low cost and almost available in every household? The solution lies in Digital Technology, a phenomenon that is central to all our lives. The present mental health care system has a lot of complications. Long waiting lists, inaccurate or missed diagnosis and the agony of referrals. The system needs life support, and it needs it now. Digital Phenotyping is the oxygen we need to make the dream of a more widely available and accurate diagnosis come to life. Imagine the ease of harnessing the potential of our smartphones and creating a digital picture of ourselves which helps in early diagnosis and making smart decisions.

But you still must be wondering- What on earth is Digital Phenotyping? Let me break it up for you.

The word Phenotyping means- a set of observables characteristics of an individual that arise from the interaction of the individual with the environment around them. For example- your phenotype would be your behaviour when you talk to a stranger or deal with your daily matter. Essentially, it is how each one of us behaves in given situations and contexts.

Putting the pieces together- Digital phenotyping is a science that paints your digital picture based on your device activity i.e how you use them, what you do with them, moment to moment.

By now, you must have your reservations, is it safe? Does it infringe on my privacy?These are understandable fears, however, the science behind digital phenotyping is safe. It collects data very securely and without any breach of your privacy and information. ADHD ,and Alzheimers. As a matter of fact, scientific studies have suggested that digital phenotyping could be used for sucide prevention, alcohol relapse and harm reduction, depression and ADHD.

Digital Phenotyping can drive benefits for mental health especially for youth as they are the most enthusiastic consumers of digital technology. Only a focused approach and successful development of digital phenotyping can help safeguard the mental health of people with better personalised diagnosis and treatment.

What do we do at Behavidence?

Behavidence was founded to help people with the diagnosis, monitoring, and therapy of mental health conditions. Utilizing digital phenotyping and machine learning algorithms we aim to give the app users, caregivers and clinical therapists high accuracy tools to evaluate onset, progression and relapse of mental health conditions together with signals, data-driven insights and technology to improve and enhance therapies and quality of life.

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