The U.S. mental health workforce lacks the number of psychiatrists and psychologists required to meet patient demand – and this is a growing problem. This situation has left health systems unable to effectively address the needs of patients with existing care delivery models and struggling to avoid provider burnout.
Dr. Katz, Inc., is addressing this challenge through a unified software platform and mobile app that enables health systems to easily adopt patient-centered and measurement-based care practices. The solution delivers both patient education and evidence-based measures, helping clinicians efficiently direct the course of care, monitor patients’ changes in anxiety, depression, and substance use risk symptoms, and tailor treatment plans.
Dr. Katz helps health systems meet the growing demand for mental health services amidst a widening crisis and challenging economic environment.
Americans depend on video – streaming, social media and broadcast — for news, entertainment, and communication. It’s time for video to be the primary medium for most healthcare. That’s the central purpose of Dr. Katz, Inc. Don’t write; show. Don’t read; watch. Of course, there’s always a place for the written word. But to learn, teach, and heal, video must take its proper place in healthcare.
Unfortunately, when it comes to learning about mental illness, communicating between visits with providers, and practicing at home the skills taught during sessions, most patients are stuck with paper, text and handwritten notes.
We are living in the age of YouTube, TikTok and Netflix: the average adult in the U.S.watches more than 3 hours of digital video each day! The more providers can use apps that harness video to bring healthcare and educational resources into our living rooms, the better care will be received.
Video is especially powerful from the standpoint of increasing accessibility. People sometimes think this means translating websites into non-English languages. Accessibility is more than that. Video is a medium that gives healthcare providers the ability to communicate broadly, demonstrate exercises, such as deep breathing and mindful meditation, in more visual, one: many formats that feel personal while increasing reach.
With the Dr. Katz app, our health system customers use video to give lots of people very easy, instant access to trusted information, clearly communicated in plain language by their top medical professionals. We facilitate that while providing closed captions, which help not only the hearing impaired, but all people. We are intentional about producing videos that use contrasting colors, large fonts for text on screen, and crisp audio – which helps not only the visually impaired, but all people.
I was recently speaking with a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General who is a part of an early adopter group of clinicians using and providing feedback on the Dr. Katz app. “Sometimes hearing me explain it,” she said, referencing a video in the app that helps her patients practice managing compulsions, “while also visually seeing me doing the [stove checking] exposure, helps people learn the concept better.”
“Shorts” are concise educational videos in the Dr. Katz app. They improve people’s understanding of core psychoeducational concepts that clinicians discuss in treatment. Having Shorts in the app lets people stop, start, and rewatch videos at their own pace, which personalizes their learning journey.
During focus groups we conducted with patients who had sought support for mental illness in 2021, we learned that watching conversational videos, featuring clinical experts breaking down complex topics, would help people more effectively learn more about treatments, signs and symptoms to look out for, and generate questions. Video also helps people absorb information on how to have better discussions with loved ones, we learned.
Importantly, video has the potential to improve treatment for people of color. What we heard in our focus groups was that when experts featured in Shorts were diverse and representative, the patient’s healthcare experience felt more inclusive - this is a major opportunity for health systems interested in delivering more equitable, patient-centered experiences. There is an evidence-basis for this finding, as well. Research published by Stanford in 2018 demonstrated increased adherence to preventative health measures amongst black men that saw black physicians.
Finally, we have found that Shorts that offer a positive, hopeful message are received more favorably -- our takeaway here is that videos help serve another purpose: motivation. This is especially important when there might be long wait times to get into treatment, as well as weeks that pass between appointments.
Clinicians are obviously very busy. We have spent hundreds of hours researching patient education alongside Massachusetts General Hospital physicians and we know that adding complicated tasks adds time to routines and makes adoption of workflow changes less likely. So, we’ve come up with a couple convenient ways for providers to share Shorts.
First, providers connect Dr. Katz with their electronic health record system, which is how most manage their schedule of appointments and accept new patients into their practice. By automatically connecting to this flow of information, we save providers time and eliminate any need to manually create new patients in another system.
Next, providers are recommended Shorts that are relevant to them, based on their interests and practice. To date, we have published over 100 patient resources featuring 60 experts, from leading psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and coaches. New resources are added every month. We make it easy for clinicians to search, explore a library and filter content by topic or speaker. Mental health is broad, so having a curated list of topics is something clinicians asked us for. From anywhere in the app, you can click on topics and view more content that matches. When providers find content based on its title, expert or description, they easily review it. Since videos are concise --typically 2-3 minutes -- it doesn’t take long for clinicians to watch. They favorite Shorts or add them to collections -- it’s just like Spotify. They access resources they want to use often and filter out the noise.
Third, providers tap once on Shorts to assign them to patients. If providers have built collections around a theme, such as “Medicating for Depression,” or “Well-Being Resources,” they can select everything in their collection and assign it. This saves more time and curates the patient experience, so they see what their providers have asked them to review before their next appointment. We have found that this back and forth improves the therapeutic relationship between patient and provider. “We’ll be speaking the same language,” Gene Beresin, Executive Director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, notes as one of the benefits of using Shorts.
We recently heard that it was difficult for clinicians practicing in medium-size clinics to share resources with each other. Sometimes, turnover amongst nurses, social workers, coaches, clinical administrative staff makes it hard to keep knowledge centralized, recommendations up-to-date and together in one place. A ton of extra time was being spent keeping individual lists and using email. This cluttered people’s inboxes. So, we’ve just delivered a way for clinicians and staff to share collections with each other -- now everyone can work off of the same, dynamic list. Getting rid of the burden felt by relying on “workarounds”is a big part of how we address clinician burnout.
We also think about ways to eliminate “barriers to entry,” or friction experienced by patients. Providers have told us that some patients do not wish to immediately download an app or create an account. “These patients should be able to access information, too. They should be able to share Shorts with their families because the information can be helpful for them,” a clinician explained to me.
So, we made it very easy for clinicians and clinical staff members to copy a link to Shorts and send them directly to patients, however they typically, securely communicate with them. Family members can also watch if they are involved, and the videos can act as guides to aid them in knowing how to best support patients.
We are always listening to and asking for feedback from clinicians. We ask them, “What types of Shorts would be helpful in your practice?” One idea we’ve heard is to add more videos that assist with reinforcing discussions around medications. People want to understand potential benefits, but also the expected time to see these results, risks, and side effects to look for and be sure to report.
Finally, as so much care has moved virtual, clinicians are looking to centralize the tools they use in their practice. We’ve been asked to help augment treatments by adding more types of resources to our library. We’ve already added measures, which are useful in capturing self-reported data on symptoms. We’ve been hearing that providers want to use video to explain how to practice protocol-based exercises and then offer an easy way, within the app, to allow patients to journal on how the experience felt - this is often referred to as“completing a worksheet,” and it’s something that traditionally has been done the old-fashioned way with paper and pencil. But this is what people are now getting used to doing online, through apps such as Headspace. Clinicians want to bring this into their own workflow using a HIPAA compliant, secure app that’s connected to the electronic medical record. We see this as yet another way to personalize the patient journey.
Burnout leads to turnover and the need to constantly re-skill. Learning is also empowering, inspiring, and community-building – so many clinicians that use the app tell us they enjoy hearing from their colleagues in video-form. Furthermore, in mental health especially, there are always so many new skills to develop — from new treatment modalities to insights around the impact of stigma and the life-saving benefits of gender-affirming care, and the potential of new drugs, such as amyloid agents to treat Alzheimer’s.
Healthcare systems use the Dr. Katz platform to get more value out of their investment in modern video technology, by administering online courses for providers and clinical staff, publishing skill-based programs, and distributing quick clinical tips. This gives providers an easy way to track completion, manage CME / CEU credits, and organize certificates in credential folders to save time with licensure renewals - this problem we heard referred to as a chaotic “last-minute scramble.”
To answer your question in another way: it’s important that clinicians are using the same app to bolster their own learning because this fosters a culture of continuous learning. In 2021, researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center who explored the concept of Learning Health Systems (LHS) posited: “One key step is often missing from workplace-based learning: the education of the clinical workforce at scale to transfer new knowledge into clinical practice.”
By unifying patient education and provider training in one cohesive app, we are taking a large step towards closing the longstanding gap between research and practice. Historically, we know it can take decades for best practices to get disseminated in healthcare. Video lets us share information instantly, effectively.
This comprehensive approach is unique. To make it possible, we designed for privacy, HIPAA compliance, as well as anonymity. We did this because continuing to do things the same old way, we knew, would only result in more provider and patient confusion, more friction, more time lost, more money spent supporting more apps, more of a gap between research innovation and clinical practice.
At Dr. Katz, we believe video learning deserves to be at the center of better care. And we are looking forward to seeing you at the 2023 Behavioral Health Tech conference this fall!
Anyone interested in learning more about Dr. Katz, Inc., can visit our website at www.drkatzinc.com or reach out to us at email@example.com.
Article written by Nathaniel Hundt, founder and CEO of Dr. Katz, Inc.