My Journey Youth Mental Health App

Technology can be a beautiful thing. A few technologies are so embedded in our everyday lives that we can’t imagine ever living without them. I look at mobile phones and the internet to be prime examples of such innovations. They have become ubiquitous to most people with 79% of people connected to the internet in the UK. But there is something else about them that makes them even more fascinating: they offer a gateway to more innovations, a platform for a variety of industries to disrupt and improve how we work and the services/products we deliver.

Take for instance your Sky+ box: a great way to watch your favourite shows without becoming a hermit. Add mobile and internet technology to this great service and its even better because now you can be out and about, click a button on your mobile phone and your Sky+ box will record your show. So what can developments in mobile and internet technology offer the healthcare sector? According to the PWC video below, a lot:

Several weeks ago, I wrote about a mobile application that I had been developing with a group of really innovative people. At that point, we had just started testing the app with a sample of people who represent the intended user group i.e. young people aged 14-35.  The app hopes to help people navigate the health system and improve collaboration between a person and their health workers as the below video shows:

To see the app in people’s hands and hear their thoughts on the numerous possibilities that this app can offer is a truly humbling experience.  It is also somewhat scary, because we are nearing the precipice of any such project. The official launch. This signals the hardest element of any innovation project: encouraging adoption.  I believe the development of the app has been the easy part. Getting wider adoption is the hardest bit. Whilst people who use services have generally embraced the app with enthusiasm and ideas on how to make it even better, the project group anticipates that clinicians and managers will prove harder to convince.

As stated above, numerous industries have managed to improve how they deliver their services and products by embracing the power of digital. Healthcare seems to be the last frontier in the digital revolution. Typically, we in healthcare are slower to adopt technologies – in the innovation terminology, healthcare as an ‘industry’ would be described as a ‘laggard’ or late adopter. Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, released a commentary on this yesterday and called for healthcare to embrace the digital revolution. In her video below, she argues that adoption of digital in health care is a win-win for patients, economists, clinicians and management alike:

How we convince our colleagues to take this message home and act accordingly is the real challenge. Luckily, other people have faced this very challenge when they have developed new ideas and processes for better health outcomes.  So how do we help our colleagues to join and benefit from the digital revolution? Well, I think Helen says it best in her tweet below:


In other words, win their hearts and the rest will follow.