New Resource for Protecting Personal Data for Mental Health Apps

· Despite over 10,000 mental health apps on the market and a growing need, concerns about safety, efficacy, quality, and privacy continue to impede progress in this space

· A new resource, Global Governance Toolkit for Digital Mental Health, provides help for governments, regulators and independent assurance bodies to address growing ethical concerns about the use of technology in mental and behavioural health

· Mental health and disruptive technology will be a key issue at the Global Technology Governance Summit, 6-7 April

· More information on the toolkit can be found here

San Francisco, USA, 6 April 2021 – The COVID-19 crisis has exposed an enduring silent epidemic and greatly accelerated the need for a properly funded and functioning global mental health ecosystem. New ethical questions about safety, efficacy, equity and sustainability are being raised by groups worldwide. Over 10,000 mental health apps are currently on the market, but regulations are not robust enough to protect against the sharing of sensitive consumer data or measure the quality of disruptive technologies such as AI-based chatbots, therapy in virtual reality, or digital phenotyping.

The Global Governance Toolkit for Digital Mental Health: Building Trust in Disruptive Technology for Mental Health, launched today by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte, aims to provide governments, regulators and independent assurance bodies with the tools to protect personal data, ensure high quality of service, endorse effective outcomes and address safety concerns.

These tools include a framework of governance principles, standards and processes, along with a code of ethics and a methodology for adapting these to different jurisdictions’ cultural, legal, medical and clinical situations.

Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum, said: “People are turning to technology solutions to a growing number of challenges. It is important that services are trusted and people are asking the right questions about the services they are using. This toolkit will hopefully be a resource for governments, businesses and consumers to ensure a safer and more trustworthy future.”

Stephanie Allen, Global Health Care Sector Leader, Deloitte, said: “This initiative is about protecting consumers, enabling them to more easily assess quality mental healthcare, helping them make more informed choices about their own mental health, and encouraging the strategic growth of safe, ethical and effective digital mental health services.”

The toolkit has been piloted in partnership with the New Zealand Ministry of Health. It can be used by governments and regulators to create principles and standards that encourage the safe, ethical and strategic implementation of digital mental health services, by healthcare and insurance organizations to integrate high-quality digital mental health services, and by digital mental health innovators and consumers to create and use trusted services.

Sign-up for the Global Technology Governance Summit

/WEF Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.