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Improving access to evidence-based mental health therapy

ick Martin has lived with anxiety and depression for many years. “My natural instinct is to worry about everything,” he said. “Even the simplest of

decisions are a struggle.” But then Nick’s GP offered him a series on online therapy sessions; a typed conversation with a therapist he would never meet. “It’s quite strange getting started,” said

Nick in a recent interview with the BBC. “You write something; how you are feeling, what you are thinking. And then there’s a pause, while the therapist responds. [But] just writing something down, which I had never done before – I was scared to do so – it had quite a profound effect, for me personally. I found it liberating; it gave me a way to cope with what I was thinking.” Mental illness is the single biggest cause

of disability with over 12.5 million working days lost each year representing a cost of £26bn to UK businesses. In 2017 NHS England spent £9.7bn alone on mental health. For sufferers of depression and their families, the cost to their wellbeing is beyond monetary measure. “When you put a computer between an

experienced therapist and a patient, it opens up all kinds of possibilities,” said Sarah Bateup, Chief Clinical Officer at Ieso Digital Health. “In a traditional therapy setting, initial problem statements can take some time to get to. But here we see that occurring in the first session. Tat’s really important because once you know what the problem is you can start the treatment.”

Ieso is a world-leading digital health company specialising in internet-enabled evidence-based psychological therapies. Tis unique method of providing online therapy through written conversation, along with strict adherence to disorder- specific treatment protocols, means that Ieso can ensure patients are experiencing the best possible evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for their needs.

“Digital mental healthcare

pathways are delivering game-changing outcomes in the treatment of

depression” Rob Brougham, UK MD, Ieso Digital Health


Imagine capturing the collective knowledge of the world’s leading and most effective therapists – every therapeutic interaction – and being able to visualise what works in an extremely nuanced way for each patient. Imagine taking that collective

knowledge, and by using deep learning techniques, natural language processing engines and sophisticated artificial intelligence practices, being able to make every therapist better: the sum of the whole now being greater than its individual parts.

Using the company’s proprietary

technology, Ieso is developing artificial intelligence techniques using natural language processing to provide personalised training and real-time support for Ieso therapists, in order to generate higher recovery rates for patients. Since 2013, the company has treated

more than 26,000 patients and conducted 100,000-plus hours of therapy. Patient recov- ery rates have improved incrementally year on year. Ieso focuses on patient experience; offering appointments at a time and location convenient to the patient. Tis particularly helps people with social anxiety, those who are embarrassed to attend a clinic, people who live in remote locations or those who require unusual appointment times. Recently released figures by Ieso using

NHS IAPT data show that: 66% of all Ieso therapy sessions now take place out of standard 9-to-5 office hours and at weekends, 48% more patients complete Ieso’s therapy compared with the national average for treatment, and greater flexibility of online therapy sessions offered by Ieso is reducing appointment no-shows by 31% compared with average national figures for traditional therapy.

Imagine that those

learnings are translated into real time, in-the-moment, clinical practice guidance tools that provide patient personalised guidance to therapists, to make them better and as a result, their patients better, faster.

“Tese figures provide more evidence

that demonstrates how Ieso’s digital care pathway is giving patients with anxiety and depression disorders a much better experi- ence,” said Rob Brougham, UK MD of Ieso Digital Health. “Ieso is connecting patients to clinicians in real-time, beyond 9-to-5 hours – enabling them to have high quality care, quickly and conveniently, without having to adapt their life to their condition.” Brougham added: “Digital mental health-

care pathways are delivering game-changing outcomes in the treatment of depression. Many people seeking therapy for mild to moderate depression with the NHS, still face long waiting times, with one in 10 having to wait more than a year to be seen leading to minor problems becoming major ones. “Nearly two-thirds of people with a known

mental condition never seek help from a health professional, and yet most of them carry a mobile phone around with them every day. By combining digital technol- ogy with the knowledge and experience of qualified expert clinicians we are seeing the real-world impact of how Ieso is redefining mental health, removing barriers and stigma by meeting patients where they are; on their mobiles and on PC.” n

A unique way of providing online therapy through written conversation. Picture by

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