Innovation towards a better (mental) health service
eHealth and eMental Health is continuously growing, especially in developed countries. But what about developing countries? In this article I will shed a little light about eHealth and eMental Health in my country, Indonesia, regarding to its forms, benefits, potentials and challenges.
In Indonesia eHealth came to prominence around 2008 and is continuously growing until the present moment. E-consulting, Electronic Medical Record (EMR), mobile health applications, social media, blogs, and websites with health and health discussion contents are forms of eHealth found in Indonesia. It is widely used by patients and health care providers (Hopitals and Public Health Services.
limited forms of eHealth
There is also a growing interest in using applications of ICT in mental health care in Indonesia, although eMental Health is relatively new compared to eHealth. There are only limited forms of eMental Health available in Indonesia such as psychological services via Internet e.g using email or chat online to consult a psychologist. Other mental health service delivery is found in the areas of psychoeducation and social support, using websites, blogs, and social media. Due to limitation of data, it is difficult to know whether there is a psychological intervention in the form of eMental Health developed in Indonesia. Until now there are no eMental Health e.g psychological internet-based interventions that have been tested through a clinical trial studie in Indonesia.
As in other countries, e(Mental) Health utilization has brought various conveniences to its users such as cuts of costs, improving patient comfort and satisfaction; especially to those who have difficulty in accessing (mental) health care providers. It also offers a solution to overcome the shortage of human resources who can deal with health related problems or mental disorders.
One classic challenge is the uneven spread of internet connection
With such benefits, I believe it would be worthwhile to broaden e(Mental) Health utilization in Indonesia. It has its potential since the internet network is growing and the number of smartphone and gadget users are increasing. Of course there are also possible limitations, such as the costs of procurement and maintenance, the ongoing debate on ethical and responsibilities issues, as well as some issues of security. One classic challenge faced by Indonesia is the uneven spread of internet connection especially in rural areas, which makes it difficult to have equal benefit of e(Mental)Health in all parts of the country.
broaden e(Mental) Health
It might be a long way to go, some initial steps have to be taken, one of which is my research project for my PhD trajectory. Funded by a LPDP scholarship from my government, I will adapt an existing internet-based stress management intervention into Indonesian culture and test its effectiveness. The research project is partly a collaboration between VU Amsterdam and YARSI University in Jakarta. To the best of my knowledge this research would be one of initial research on eMental Health in Indonesia. It is expected that results from my research can give real contribution to the development of e(Mental)Health in Indonesia.