7 Top Takeaways and Trend Predictions from the 2023 Behavioral Health Tech Conference (BHT2023)

Last week, we attended the BHT2023 summit in Phoenix, AZ. The stacked Behavioral Health Tech Conference was a raging success and a brilliant investment of our time in more ways than one. 

Despite being her first in-person conference, Solome Tibebu organized one of the best, most meaningful, and inspiring gatherings of minds innovating the future of Behavioral Health. 

With a life spent working in tech—I had some expectations going into this event. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from the talks featuring innovations in this space. 

One of the sessions that stood out was the ‘How Do We Know Digital Mental Health Is Working?’ discussion. 

After attending this event, I am more sure than ever that the answer lies in tech, data-driven deliberate actions—constant innovations, experiments, and cross-checking with patients.

In this article, I will share what I took from this event and the patterns I see ahead of us in this ever-changing landscape. 

I would also like to extend a big thank you to all who attended SANE.digital's founder event; it was a pleasure to meet so many great people in this community.

Top BHT 2023 Takeaways and Predictions

(1) Increased Demand, Limited Supply

Reality: Number of *Qualified* Psychiatrists ≠ Number of Patients. 

The number of patients who seek mental health support has increased due to higher awareness of mental health issues and the lasting impacts of global events.

As the number of people seeking support rises, the burden on mental health professionals intensifies. Unfortunately, the workforce hasn’t expanded at the same rate to meet this soaring demand.

However, technology is democratizing this sudden jump in mental health support needs. 

With various technological advances like Telepsychiatry and Teletherapy, providers can streamline routine tasks, such as appointment scheduling and administrative work—providing around-the-clock support for the comfort of patients seeking mental health support.

The integration of tech into mental health not only addresses the immediate demand but also improves the overall quality, accessibility, and efficiency of services—empowering both professionals and patients, offering a care continuum that is personalized, affordable, and more responsive to individual needs.

(2) Collaborative Care—More Inclusive 

Collaboration can be a solution to most mental health tech problems. 

With barriers in mental health, everyone needs to visit a multitude of solutions—so we can choose the best of the best for those seeking support.  

Thought leaders like Megan Jones Bell PsyD and Anthony Sossong, MD, MS, brought insights into the digital tech space, shedding light on innovations breaking down access barriers and delivering data-driven outcomes.

BHT2023 showcased notable technological advances in mental health care.

Let’s take a look: 


    • Data Sharing for Research: Technology facilitates research efforts by aggregating and anonymizing health data, aiding in understanding disparities and crafting targeted interventions.

    • Mobile Health Apps (mHealth): These apps serve as platforms for health education, disease prevention, and self-management. Their designs cater to diverse populations, considering cultural and linguistic differences.

    • Predictive Analytics: AI’s capability to analyze vast datasets identifies patterns and predicts health trends. This knowledge can target interventions, addressing disparities more effectively.

    • Data Analysis: Technology enables the collection and analysis of data regarding social determinants of health. This helps healthcare providers tackle the root causes of health disparities.

(3) Health Equity Driven by Tech

It’s incredible how the focus on health equity has evolved and gained momentum over the years. Take, for instance, the strides made by organizations like the Pat Tillman Foundation

Their commitment to supporting military service members, veterans, and spouses highlights the importance of this issue and demonstrates the tangible impact that collaboration and innovation can create.

Health equity wasn’t a prominent topic at conferences a few years back. Now, not only is it being discussed widely, but significant actions are being taken to address it. 

Technology has played a pivotal role in this transformation. Technology has become a cornerstone in promoting health equity by tackling diverse challenges and enhancing access to healthcare services.

Telemedicine, for instance, has broken down geographical barriers, allowing individuals, irrespective of their location, to access quality healthcare services. Similarly, wearable devices and health apps empower individuals to actively monitor their health, promote preventive care, and ultimately reduce disparities in healthcare access.

Data-driven approaches supported by machine learning and AI enhance diagnostic accuracy and treatment personalization, ensuring that healthcare interventions effectively cater to diverse populations. These advancements improve healthcare outcomes and contribute significantly to leveling the playing field for marginalized communities.

(4) A Sense of Community Among Providers

Zoom conferences have many benefits, but this in-person event allowed mental healthtech providers to connect in a true sense. 

So many attendees highlighted how meeting Zoom colleagues in person was wonderful, connecting with friends, making new connections, and learning from the outstanding panelists.

With these types of events, highlighting informality is essential, as personal connections are crucial, and face-to-face connections still matter a lot. 

For mental health tech providers, this means the opportunity to brainstorm, share ideas, and form partnerships that could lead to innovative solutions for mental health challenges.

At BHT2023, everyone engaged in real, unfiltered conversations, providing invaluable insights into diverse perspectives and challenges and aiding the development of more effective tech solutions.

We worked to ensure our founder event was fun and insightful for those in attendance—allowing them to exchange glasses of wine comfortably, meet investors, and chat with like-minded mental health tech founders.

 SANE.digital Founders Event


(5) Adolescence and Adult Mental Health

Every generation shares its share of anxieties, fears, and traumas, and the technology umbrella must cover everyone. Here are some takeaways from the event on how to achieve this for adults and children. 

Adult Mental Health

    • Tailoring Products for Older Adults: Emphasize how products and services have been designed specifically with older adults in mind, highlighting unique features or adaptations.

    • Adapting Solutions for the MA Population: Discuss plans to modify or adjust your solution to cater to the needs of the MA (Medicare Advantage) population.

    • Importance of Patient-Centered Design: Highlight the significance of patient-centered design in attracting MA plans’ interest and fostering discussions.

Children’s Mental Health

    • Integration of Social Media, AI, and Behavioral Health Tech: Focusing on teenagers and the role of technology in their mental health is crucial, especially in the age of social media influencers.

    • Emphasizing Children’s Privacy: It’s important that we are promoting children’s privacy rights and engagement with technology on an ongoing basis. 

    • Collaboration Between Sectors: Encouraging collaboration between kid’s media and behavioral health tech for a brighter future in children’s mental health is key. Leveraging expertise from both domains can lead to innovative and effective solutions.

    • Tech and Child Mental Health: A Strategic Imperative for Health Plans and Employers

    • Tech-Forward Seniors: Embracing Digital Mental Health Solutions for Aging Populations

    • From Likes to Life: How Social Media Impacts Youth Mental Health

    • Addiction and Recovery Update 2023: The Latest Clinical Takeaways from Neuroscience Research

    • Social Media and Other Scary Things Impacting Youth Mental Health

    • Exploring AI-Enabled Suicide Prevention and Measurement-Based Care Innovations

    • Enabling Scalable Innovative Solutions for Youth Mental Health

    • Evidence-Based Eating Disorder Care to Drive Access

Our team enjoyed these discussions; each touched on a human level, how people, employees, and colleagues feel, and how we can help provide better, genuine mental healthtech innovations.

(6) Value-Based Contracts

Value-based contracts are the way to sustain integrated behavioral health. They jive with the model’s core ideas, especially when spotting mental health concerns early. 

It’s about jumping in early, teaching providers and patients skills to manage their symptoms, offering medication when needed, and ensuring everyone’s on the same page for whole-body care.

The fascinating thing about this approach is how it’s about measuring progress and not just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks. 

It’s about tracking results and ensuring what we’re doing works. And that’s huge because it means we’re not just delivering care; we’re delivering care that counts, care that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

(7) AI and Machine Learning—Powerful Tools in Mental Health 

BHT2023 gave us a robust exploration of how AI and machine learning are revolutionizing mental health care. One of the highlights was the emphasis on tech-forward solutions, putting AI at the forefront. 

For instance, LANGaware’s presentation showcased how AI can offer nuanced insights into individuals’ mental health statuses. 

LANGaware Platform

BHT2023 spotlighted companies like Holmusk, setting new standards with real-world evidence in behavioral health. 

What truly stood out was the broad scope of innovation, not solely focused on patient-centric solutions but considering all stakeholders in mental health care. 

The industry’s commitment to embracing innovation signals a promising future where AI could play a pivotal role.

In summary, BHT2023 was not just another tech conference but a comprehensive behavioral health conference, engaging health systems, payers, policymakers, and providers in understanding how technology acts as a means to improve human health rather than merely a shiny yet potentially risky toy.

The panels were notably diverse, with several all-female panelists. Gender and racial diversity were prominently represented both on stage and among the audience, fostering a rich and inclusive discussion.

Huge credit is due to Solome Tibebu and everyone else who brought BHT2023 to Phoenix this year. The sessions were great—but the community was out of this world, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

We are already looking forward to an even bigger and better BHT2024!