Improving Mental and Behavioral Health Care with Digital Technology

This course is intended for clinicians who are curious about, or who may already be considering, planning for, or implementing the use of digital technology as an adjunct to care. Digital technology would most likely be relevant within primary care, mental and behavioral health, social services, educational, research, and residential settings.

Within this course we will focus primarily on the use of smartphone and wearable device applications, but will also take a look at big data, give a nod to artificial intelligence, and a gander at a new diagnostic paradigm, made possible by smart computers - all of these domains of technology are interlaced. We will even give a little side-eye to the DSM-5.

This course is intended to be an introduction and is by no means exhaustive. There are thousands of digital health care applications. There are initiatives, data repositories, projects, studies, and theories galore. There is great enthusiasm wafting up from the halls of medicine, academia, government, tech, and business.

A confluence of trends has led us to where we are now, still within the nascent stages of a technology boom, but with the means to catapult ourselves toward the future at an exponential speed. This course will look at how the ubiquitous smartphone might be put to good use in this process, as a tool, ideally available to all, for the betterment of individual and collective mental health.

Questions? Check out our FAQs page and How Online IV Certification Works!


Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Identify  developments in neuroscience, data science, AI, and digital technology, that may contribute to better mental and behavioral health care.
  2. Describe how big data can be used to improve knowledge and management of  mental and behavioral illness.
  3. Compare and contrast  traditional categorical taxonomies to newer classification paradigms.
  4. Describe the function and purpose of just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs,) in mental health and behavioral health care.
  5. Explain factors that contribute to the “new digital divide’ and how this gap might be bridged within the therapeutic setting.
  6. Identify digital health initiatives and innovations and describe how these point to future possibilities in mental and behavioral health care.


Chapter 1:  Confluent Trends

  • Advances in Neuroscience
  • The NIH BRAIN Initiative
  • The Need for Better Mental Health Care Around the Globe
  • Digital Health and the Potential to Accelerate Research
  • Adapting an Evidence-based Approach For Patients with Schizophrenia
  • FOCUS Smartphone Intervention for Schizophrenia

Chapter 2: Big Data

  • Digital Health Creates Big Data
  • All of Us Research Program
  • All of Us Protocol
  • Crowdsourcing for Best Treatments

Chapter 3: Rethinking Assessment and Diagnosis

  • Limitations of the DSM-5
  • RDoC - A New Framework for Research
  • What Does RDoC Have To Do With Digital Technology?

Chapter 4: Applying Digital Health 

  • Prevention is the Goal - With a Little Help from AI
  • Construct Validity 
  • Reproducibility and Replicability
  • An Alternative to Random Controlled Trials
  • The Quantified Self
  • Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions                           
  • Some Examples of JITAIs                                                                                     
  • Vulnerability and Opportunity
  • Tailoring Variables In a JITAI
  • Adherence and Retention

Chapter 5: Increasing Digital Literacy

  • The Promise of Smartphones  
  • The New Digital Divide
  • The DOORS Program
  • Agency and Autonomy in Evaluating Apps

Chapter 6: Conclusion

  • Many Possibilities
  • Adopting New Tools - Can we Overcome Inertia?
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces and Beyond

Chapter 7: Implicit Bias in Healthcare

  • California Bill 241
  • Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Implications of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • How to Reduce Implicit Bias

Chapter 8: References

Price: $15.00

Contact Hours: 1.5

Course Author

Margaret Wright

Margaret Wright, RN, BSN, has more than 30 years of experience in the medical field, starting as a tech in a variety of roles, then, working as an RN in a variety of settings. She now brings her broad range of experience to assist in writing educational materials for nurses.

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