An estimated 30 million Americans struggle with an eating disorder, yet many patients are reluctant to admit they have an issue and even more hesitant to seek treatment due to stigmas surrounding mental health care. After a spike in eating disorders during the pandemic, psychiatrist Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt and investor Abhilash Patel decided to make care more accessible with the first comprehensive virtual treatment option for patients.
Within Health was created by psychiatric professionals who specialize in eating disorders and offers patients a highly trained, multidisciplinary clinical team, individual therapy, remote patient monitoring, advanced nutrition therapy, and catered meal support.
The multidisciplinary care team includes a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, dietician, and care partner who work with patients throughout their treatment to manage their eating disorder and prevent relapse down the road.
Telehealth is an industry that has boomed during the pandemic. Virtual mental and physical health services became a necessity to slow the spread of Covid-19, but they ended up being the silver lining of a medical crisis, making healthcare more accessible than ever. With telehealth services, patients can seek care without worrying about finding childcare or commuting long distances. Plus, it eliminates many of the stigmas which may prevent some patients from asking for the help they need.
When it comes to eating disorders, virtual care means the ability to find effective treatment options even if you live in a remote area or wish to keep your treatment anonymous. Within Health notes that 70 percent of those who do not seek treatment for eating disorders because of stigma or lack of access are men, moms, the elderly, those with higher weight bodies, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Within Health’s online platform also allows the app to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve patients’ experiences, while digital vital sign monitors and numberless scales allow many of the in-person aspects of treatment to be done just as effectively from the home.
Oliver-Pyatt emphasizes that the digital platform still emphasizes many of the community-oriented aspects of traditional treatment programs. “Eating disorders thrive in isolation and connection is the cure,” she says. “Shared experiences help the healing process exponentially. The relationships formed in group therapy help patients throughout the treatment and beyond.”