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02/05/2024

A Chatbot Helped More People Access Mental-Health Services

Article Excerpt: An AI chatbot helped increase the number of patients referred for mental-health services through England’s National Health Service (NHS), particularly among underrepresented groups who are less likely to seek help, new research has found. Demand for mental-health services in England is on the rise, particularly since the covid-19 pandemic. Mental-health services received 4.6 million patient referrals in 2022—the highest number on record—and the number of people in contact with such services is growing steadily. But neither the funding nor the number of mental-health professionals is adequate to meet this rising demand, according to the British Medical Association. The chatbot’s creators, from the AI company Limbic, set out to investigate whether AI could lower the barrier to care by helping patients access help more quickly and efficiently. A new study, published today in Nature Medicine, evaluated the effect that the chatbot, called Limbic Access, had on referrals to the NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression program, a series of evidence-based psychological therapies for adults experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, or both.

Full Article: http://tinyurl.com/4ybhhjye

Article Source: MIT Technology Review

10/28/2023

Updates in Federal Legislation Addressing Digital Therapeutics, Access to Care

Article Excerpt: Health care legislation has been on hold at the federal level following Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) removal as Speaker of the House. Although legislation cannot currently pass through Congress, important actions around digital therapeutics, access to care, and health care disparities are still important to highlight. In a session at AMCP Nexus 2023, Jennifer Mathieu, MA, senior vice president of professional and government affairs at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, and Geni Tunstall, JD, director of regulatory affairs at AMCP, discussed federal legislative and regulatory updates that are on the horizon.

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/5bt7ktce

Article Source: AJMC (Also in Pharmacy Times).

10/25/2023

Digital Mental Health Research Wins Distinguished Paper Award

Article Excerpt: Co-authors Andrew Campbell, professor of computer science, HealthX Lab graduate students Subigya Nepal and Weichen Wang, and Jeremy Huckins, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences won a Distinguished Paper Award at the 2023 ACM UbiComp Conference for their paper titled “GLOBEM: Cross-Dataset Generalization of Longitudinal Human Behavior Modeling.” Eight out of 210 papers received the Distinguished Paper Award, presented at UbiComp and published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (Volume 6).

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/4h4xcrsf

Article Source: Dartmouth Computer Science News

10/18/2023

Telehealth Supports Retention in Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Article Excerpt: Starting buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder through telehealth was associated with an increased likelihood of staying in treatment longer compared to starting treatment in a non-telehealth setting, according to a new study analyzing Medicaid data from 2019-2020 in Kentucky and Ohio. Published in JAMA Network Open, these findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating positive outcomes associated with the use of telemedicine for treatment of opioid use disorder.

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/zdzcfn9k

Article Source: NIDA News

04/24/2023

Cannabis Experts Weigh in On Benefits and Drawbacks of Marijuana Use

Article Excerpt: With medical cannabis coming to Kentucky in less than two years following bill passage earlier this month, the timing of the Substance Use Research Event (SURE) at the University of Kentucky felt appropriate. On Monday, scientists and medical experts from around the region converged on the Gatton Student Center for a full day of presentations and discussions about the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana use. Experts also used the time to dispel some possible myths about the drug… “We ran some studies and it turned out cannabis withdrawal looks like tobacco withdrawal, and a good percentage of these people who use a lot of cannabis end up with the same withdrawal symptoms,” said Dr. Alan Budney of Dartmouth College

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/ybsp7kp4

Article Source: NBC Lex18

03/23/2023

With Gains and Gaps, Mental Health Care Moves Forward

Article Excerpt: According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, one in four New Hampshire residents is experiencing some form of mental health distress. “This is a regional and national crisis for all children and adults,” said Dr. William Torrey, chief of psychiatry at Dartmouth Health, who has spent 38 years in the field. Demand for inpatient and outpatient care currently “exceeds our capacity at all levels,” Torrey said. More people are seeking care, more are acknowledging mental illness and addiction struggles in themselves and loved ones, and more are advocating for mental health care — which is good. “They see the extreme need for services.”

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/msxv2adj

Article Source: Union Leader

03/22/2023

William C. Torrey, MD, Named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry

Article Excerpt: William C. (Will) Torrey, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Psychiatry for Dartmouth Health and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, a role he has held on an interim basis since 2020. This appointment comes in the midst of a national and regional mental health and addiction care crisis. Torrey’s wide-ranging experience in addressing psychiatric population health needs through advocacy, clinical programming, educational initiatives, and research combined with his drive for improvement will advance Dartmouth Health and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth’s positions as leaders in education, care delivery, and research in the field of psychiatry.

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/3ahypm32

Article Source: Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine News

03/07/2023

Psychological Phenotypes Correlate with Response to Digital Therapy for Anxiety

Article Excerpt: A patient’s psychological phenotype could be an indication of whether the patient will respond to a digital therapy for anxiety, according to a new report. The study offers insights that could help clinicians offer personalized care to patients with psychological conditions, but it also could explain why some patients respond more strongly than others to the types of therapy often leveraged by prescription digital therapeutics. The findings were published in Scientific Reports. Corresponding author Veronique A. Taylor, Ph.D., M.Sc., of the Brown University School of Public Health, and colleagues, said while personalized medicine has become an important component of other types of healthcare, personalized medicine in mental health has lagged due in part to a lack of research.

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/2p8tnr2j

Article Source: Managed Healthcare Executive

03/06/2023

Opioid Prescription Decision Tool May Be Feasible Option to Curb Overprescribing

Article Excerpt: A new report shows that an app designed to help clinicians make better opioid-prescribing decisions following surgery can be a useful tool, although not all clinicians said they would continue using it. The study, published in BMJ Open, highlights one potential strategy to help curb the overprescription of opioids, which is believed to be a major factor in the current epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. The study investigators said persistent postsurgical opioid use is a common problem that occurs in about 6% of opioid-naive patients who are given the drugs. In about 15% of cases, patients are discharged with opioid prescriptions that are inconsistent with their opioid usage while in the hospital.

Full Article: https://tinyurl.com/yhxbwnc2

Article Source: AJMC