A new digital tool is helping health workers manage their mental health. Could it pave the way for a wider transformation in the way services are delivered?
Blog post by Francis Lee, Ph.D.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exert pressure on global healthcare systems, frontline healthcare workers remain vulnerable to developing significant psychiatric symptoms. These effects have the potential to further cripple the healthcare workforce at a time when a second wave of the coronavirus is considered likely in the fall, and workforce shortages already pose a serious challenge.
Studies show that healthcare workers are also less likely to proactively seek mental health services due to concerns about confidentiality, privacy and barriers to accessing care. Thus, there is an obvious and pressing need for scalable tools to act as an ‘early warning system’ to alert healthcare workers when they are at risk of depression, anxiety or trauma symptoms and then rapidly connect them with the help they need. To address the mental health needs of the 47,000 employees and affiliated physicians in our hospital system, New York-Presbyterian (NYP) has developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled digital tool that screens for symptoms, provides instant feedback, and connects participants with crisis counselling and treatment referrals.