By Dhiren Patel
As someone who has worked as a Behavioral therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as Down Syndrome, I have seen the benefits of evidence-based behavioral science applied to therapy. However, I was increasingly frustrated with the lack of technology used. Technology could have helped me better relay data and notes to our team and supervisors as well as provide real-time data to make actionable insights right way as well as provide parents with access to specific guidelines and programs they can follow when were are not there.
What is an Evidence-Based Program?
EBP is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision-making the process for patient care. Clinical expertise refers to the clinician’s cumulated experience, education, and clinical skills. The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal preferences and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best research evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology. (Sackett D, 2002)
What this means is that the evidence, by itself, does not make the decision, but it can help support the care process. The full integration of these three components into clinical decisions enhances the opportunity for the best clinical outcomes and quality of life.
Make data easily accessible and understandable
This is where technology can shine, as a Behavioral therapist I was hand making graphs and writing notes based on data that I had written all the while trying to implement the best behavioral therapy practices, so I had to be able to multitask. As a result, sometimes I wasn’t able to give my full attention to the child I may have to work with. Now imagine if I had an application that allowed me to spend less time inputting data and more time helping parents learn some best practices or work with the child. The great thing is that there is an app that’s working on exactly that!
Check it out here.
Extend the possibility of Behavioral Medicine
What I mean by this is, technology can simplify and make the process of implementing behavioral change easier and cheaper. How? Well, all you have to look at is that thing you pick every 2 seconds to look at a Twitter update! Using smart devices and your phone, you can increase access to these services for people that didn’t even know they existed as well as gaining actionable insights keeping people engaged using a term Omada Health coined “Digital Therapeutics” Omada Health has used this idea to implement programs that tackle chronic disease using evidence-based behavioral therapy. You can now have health coaches come to you via your phone or tablet guiding you through protocols to help you better your health whereas before you needed to make a commitment to attend a session or seminar to learn. This changes the game because now you have the technology to provide some actionable insights, like blood pressure monitors, fitness trackers, weight scales that can provide these coaches insights on how programs are working as well you being able to see results real-time. This makes you feel empowered and provides a convenient way to develop better habits in easy to digest way that keeps you engaged, using something that you can’t live without these days, your smartphone!
This is evidence that technology can make a difference and we should continue to push the boundries of care!