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NPJ Digit Med. 2018 May 16;1:16. doi: 10.1038/s41746-018-0028-2. eCollection 2018.

Empowering the digital therapeutic relationship: virtual clinics for digital health interventions.

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1Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical Informatics, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA.
Clinical Health Platforms, Verily Life Sciences, South San Francisco, CA USA.
Contributed equally


As "digital phenotyping" and monitoring technologies begin to unleash the potential of data insights for mental health care, we propose here a complementary concept of the "digital therapeutic relationship" to unleash the power of the patient-provider alliance in clinical care. In millions of clinics today, care decisions are made on a daily basis in the context of a relationship honed through professional training to be respectful, protective, and empowering of patients. Now as clinical care evolves toward online and especially mobile platforms, it is critical to not ignore the digital therapeutic relationship and instead to realize that supporting it will require new and innovative means of care delivery. Here, we propose that technology can be harnessed to facilitate, augment, and expand these relationships directly, and identify virtual clinics as the currently missing but necessary environment to unleash the true potential of digital medicine.


Disability; Health occupations

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsJ.T. declares no competing interests. H.H. is an employee of Verily Life Sciences and owns equity in this company. The views expressed here are those of the authors and are not official views of Verily Life Sciences.

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