Online therapy via WebRTC
How about doing an online therapy session? There’s a WebRTC service for that.[If you are new around here, then you should know I’ve been writing about WebRTC lately. You can skim through the WebRTC post series or just read what WebRTC is all about.]
Healthcare and WebRTC seem to be like a match made in heaven. I have stopped counting the vendors who are tackling this domain from different angles a while ago. An interesting use of video calling (and WebRTC) is in the mental health domain, where the actual treatment is a conversation.
Regroup Therapy is one of the vendors in this space, and I wanted to hear more about the use they make about WebRTC. David Cohn, Co-founder at Regroup Therapy spared some time to answer my questions
What is Regroup Therapy all about?
Regroup Therapy is a platform designed to bring mental health professionals and their clients together both simply and securely.
This is similar to what expert market companies do – popexpert and LiveNinja. What differentiates you from them?
Mental health has requirements that go above and beyond working with your typical consumer. We need to consider these requirements both in technical terms, but also in the design of the workflow and the UX. Our passion is helping to extend the reach of mental health services and to best do that, we needed to design a product specific to mental health as opposed to solutions designed for more “interest-based” audiences.
What excites you about working in WebRTC?
Having a technology that allows seamless integration with other functionality (scheduling, payment, etc) and that WORKS opens so many doors. The simplicity of use means that people who don’t consider themselves tech savvy are able to use these solutions and benefit from the advantages of live video interactions. To me, this step is as important as the emergence of simple touch tone phone systems. Then of course, once a technology is easy enough to use and you have critical mass, the opportunities grow exponentially. The more people using WebRTC, the more that can be done with it.
Where do you see WebRTC going in 2-5 years?
Well, the obvious implication is that live video further integrates into all elements of the web. Suddenly, we’ll start seeing people who want to talk to us right on the sites we visit. I think very high end retail will figure this out in the near future. In the short to mid-term, we’ll see this in a big way in customer service – with companies differentiating themselves by staffing with help staff that can be not just heard but also seen. It’ll start changing medicine and (of course) mental health care as well. I do think mass uptake is coming in a number of sectors, but I see that as closer to 5 years out as opposed to 2.
If you had one piece of advice for those thinking of adopting WebRTC, what would it be?
Understand that the user isn’t you. For most people, this idea is still very new and you have to do a great job explaining it and how it is used.
Given the opportunity, what would you change in WebRTC?
The backwards compatibility is still an issue.
What’s next for Regroup Therapy?
We’re always adding functionality. Up soon are enhanced services for therapists to better manage their relationships with clients. We’ll also move to better help clients find the right therapists for them. We’ve discovered that while some therapists are excellent in marketing, many simply want to focus on helping people. That means that to best serve them, we also have to help them find their clients.
The interviews are intended to give different viewpoints than my own – you can read more WebRTC interviews.