Digital enhancement of mental health services

Digital enhancement of mental health services

EMAHSN and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network conducted a collaborative Innovation Exchange in the iCentrum in Birmingham on Thursday 5 December 2019. The Innovation Exchange aimed to showcase digital innovations to address key challenges in four key areas which would support the delivery of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

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Overview

EMAHSN and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network conducted a collaborative Innovation Exchange in the iCentrum in Birmingham on Thursday 5 December 2019. The Innovation Exchange aimed to showcase digital innovations to address key challenges in four key areas which would support the delivery of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

 These challenges include:

1. Access: Referral and Assessment

This could include:

  • Digital solutions to facilitate and speed-up the referral, appointment and assessment process, identification of whether IAPT services are relevant to the patient and speed up access to the right treatment.
  • Improved methods for recruiting patients into research studies

2. Digital Therapies: flexible and innovative delivery of therapies

(e.g. CBT, interpersonal therapy, couples counselling, etc.) to deliver resources to improve outcomes for people with the most common anxiety related disorders (depression, anxiety, medically unexplained symptoms and long term conditions, etc.) and other conditions treated within IAPT services including but not limited to specific disorders such as:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social PhobiasAgoraphobia
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic DisorderEating Disorders

3. Patient Self-Management and recovery

Digital innovations which could ‘nudge’/ encourage patients to monitor and maintain their mental health during and following treatment including follow-up and, if required, re-entry into treatment.

4. Workforce

Digital solutions which could develop the role of role of therapist, improve IAPT staff’s own well-being, enable flexible working (including being able to work outside traditional working hours) and increase workforce satisfaction.

Fourteen innovators gave a three-minute pitch for their products and services ahead of an afternoon of focused roundtable discussions, where conversations were facilitated between innovators and delegates generating a significant number of commitments to explore opportunities to collaborate.

Background and needs definition

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme began in 2008 and has transformed treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. Over 900,000 people now access IAPT services each year. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and NHS Long Term Plan are committed to expanding services further, alongside improving quality.

Ongoing collaboration

Following the event, EMAHSN  has announced a call for project proposals. Organisations from across the health and social care system in both the East and West Midlands are invited to apply to EMAHSN for funding support to undertake demonstrator projects that real-world test innovations showcased at the event. Other digital and technological solutions responding to the challenge statements will also be considered.

EMAHSN will provide funding for the applied innovation, evaluation of the impact and development of the business case to support sustainability and spread. Organisations that apply will be required to resource and manage successfully selected projects, providing all necessary project, IT, mobilisation and governance resource for the period of the demonstrator project.

For further information and access to the project proposal submission form, please email dawn.plummer@nottingham.ac.uk