As the gap between the availability of mental health professionals and the cost of each therapy session expands, so does the demand for digitalized healthcare solutions.
Fremont, CA: One in every four people is expected to be affected by mental or neurological disorders in the coming years. With the increasing advancement of technology and its application in the medical field, researchers and medical practitioners are now investigating how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to identify early symptoms and potential cures for different mental illnesses. Over the years, significant progress has been made in this area, with AI-powered solutions such as NLP and even chatbots aimed to understand the human mind.
Here are three use cases to understand if AI can be effective as a therapist:
AI-Powered Genetic Counselor
This profession entails advising individuals and families at risk of a genetic disorder, assisting them in better understanding the condition, and providing them with needed mental support. More and more people seek these professionals' assistance to better understand their genetic makeup and predict their proclivity to develop conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
While cost reduction has been correlated with technology, the most significant threat is that of hacking and data theft. Healthcare cyber-attacks have occurred, and vital information such as a patient's medical history and other personally identifiable data can be mishandled. Because AI systems are prone to flaws, this can result in incorrect disease detection and drug recommendation.
Chatbots for Depression
As the gap between the availability of mental health professionals and the cost of each therapy session expands, so does the demand for digitalized healthcare solutions. Even when they are at their lowest, an increasing number of people prefer an app experience to an actual therapy session.
Although the major advantage of these apps is the instant availability of someone to talk with you, the most significant disadvantage is the lack of human touch.
A few startups have combined artificial intelligence and virtual reality to develop a virtual therapist who can interact with patients in real-time. However, in conditions such as PTSD, where symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety can encumber a person, the need for personal assistance and direct human intervention is greater. While technology can provide some confidentiality, it cannot replace human involvement, critical for a person in distress.