We sat down with leading thinkers and innovators Hannes and Manu to go over the challenges and opportunities for digital mental health solutions. The emerging space that rapidly accelerated over COVID lockdowns has excellent potential for impact… but what’s next? Here are our top 5 takeaways:


1. Not just for meditation!

Telehealth compares to face-to-face therapy across outcomes, including clinical effectiveness, treatment adherence, and patient satisfaction. While there is a common misconception that digital solutions are only for addressing ‘light’ mental health concerns, it was noted that they could be effective across a wide spectrum of mental health illnesses, although more research is needed.

2. A male minority

In general, our experts agreed that digital solutions are highly individual – they work for some and not others; certain people prefer in-person, while others crave the convenience, flexibility, and degree of separation of online platforms. Interestingly, the platforms we spoke about are predominantly used by women. Often patients use digital platforms when they feel stigmatized and are reluctant to get help, so it was emphasized that showing success stories and users that people can relate to is crucial.

3. Get with the program

The biggest challenge is that people across the board need to be made aware of digital mental health solutions. As a first step, educational content, from sources including influencers, and even webinars, go a long way in getting the word out! Healthcare practitioners do, however, require more context than just a blog (!). While they often have very limited availability, once informed about the results of clinical research, and how a digital treatment plan’s protocols match up with conventional therapy, the response is overwhelmingly positive.

4. The space is all over the place

There is no single agreed-upon global regulatory and reimbursement framework, and different countries have very different approaches. For example, while Manu is working within the sandbox environment of Singapore, Germany has an established framework for digital health that Hannes can leverage. Also, how a solution is positioned, be it as a mental well-being app or a clinical app, has a major impact on regulations and reimbursement; a well-being app, for example, generally faces less regulatory scrutiny!

5. Mind the mental health data gap

Currently, the ecosystem needs to be more cohesive and structured to drive opportunities for development of innovative solutions between different players that maximize real-world impact. With collaboration, data privacy remains the main issue for patients. Health data, especially mental health, is highly sensitive, and adequate safeguards are necessary to build trust.

Finally, we asked our panelists to take us to 2030…
what does the future look like?

“The first thing an individual turns to when needing healthcare is some device. Today, it’s a smartphone or tablet, but in 2030 it could be something else altogether. With a lot of curated, good-quality data, we predict where a patient is headed, so interventions are more timely. Digital solutions generally play a much bigger role in prevention.” – Manu

“You’re either in therapy or you’re on your own…when people think about therapy, they think about face-to-face, but we’ll have a full spectrum of different treatment options that include Dtx, telemedicine, blended care, face-to-face, and whatever else we might come up with. This takes advantage of machine learning for personalization and continuous iterative improvement using digital biomarkers.” – Hannes

And as for you, what does the future hold…
Want to create or leverage insights and benefits of a digital solution? 

#makewhatlifeneedsnext #thewebinarseries

Get in touch

Tiffany Vasilchik

Chief Growth Officer,
Board of Innovation

Bryan Berger

Healthcare Business Director,
Board of Innovation