Niamh Macdonald, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Hospital Times, told Dr. Charlotte Lee, Director of Big Health in the United Kingdom, how digital treatment can change the NHS’s approach to mental health management.
Digital tools have become critical to maintaining access to mental health services, as ongoing pandemics still limit face-to-face appointments. Mental health apps for conditions such as anxiety and depression have existed long before the pandemic and offer pharmacy-equivalent self-management options. However, regulations on these tools are limited and it is not always clear whether they are NHS approved.
Digital therapies like Big Health’s Sleepio and Daylight apps are attempts to label what works and excels through a drug-like evidence pipeline. Effective digital treatments need to allow users to self-manage their symptoms and reduce the chances of visiting a general practitioner or hospital.
The Daylight app is a digital remedy for anxiety, while the Sleepio app is aimed at insomnia. Both have undergone clinical trials, with 71% of patients using Daylight achieving clinical improvement and 76% of patients using Sleepio achieving clinical improvement.
All Scottish residents have access to Big Health’s Sleepio and Daylight apps through the NHS, making it the first country in the world to offer digital treatments nationwide. Sleepio’s draft guidance was also published by NICE. This marks the first time regulatory agencies have evaluated digital therapies.
“Digital therapies are designed to increase the level of reliability and reliability, with evidence that 9 out of 10 will be very good compared to all other products without statistics. .. That is to make sure that when people decide to use a digital remedy, there is evidence behind it. ”
“This service can’t rely on training and recruitment to meet this demand. It’s not really good to have these tools, it’s the evolution and reality of mental health services. Is the basis of survival. “
Dr. Charlotte Lee
During the pandemic, the NHS was forced to switch to a digital-first model of mental health services almost overnight. Prior to the pandemic, the Nuffield Trust reported that about 80% of general practitioner appointments were face-to-face, dropping to just under half of appointments by June 2020.
This digital momentum is changing attitudes towards digital tools such as treatments and becoming an increasingly accepted and integrated aspect of care delivery. Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Lee said the NHS was “one strategy to address increasing demand: increase staff.” It was “very difficult to enter some of these services because of cultural barriers to entry and expectations of what digital can really do with the services.” She insists that it means.
Dr. Lee describes the pre-pandemic thinking about digital adoption as “quick but practical.” Covid-19 forced the provider’s hands and quickly wiped out the previous hesitation about digital form of care. “There was no question as to whether digital was the right path, as we had no other choice.”
The NHS is currently facing extreme pressure to overcome the increasingly ominous backlog of care and the ever-increasing demand for services. Despite the record number of 1.5 million people who received NHS mental health support in June, an estimated 1.6 million people were waiting for treatment in September.
“This service can’t rely on training and recruitment to meet this demand. It’s not really good to have these tools, it’s the evolution and reality of mental health services. Is the basis of survival. ”
Preventive and preventive care
While the NHS has proven effective in pandemic crisis management, Dr. Lee argues that the focus on preventive medicine is often lacking.
“The NHS was unable to achieve the standardized levels of prevention and self-care available in the population. They were unable to collect data showing that this was working across the population and people. Don’t go to A & E because you can prevent people from seeing your GP often or save money because you have less anxiety. Long-term integration of digital therapies and digital innovations into your health record The general view is much larger. ”
For emergency access to mental health services, the needs of large populations are relatively low, but self-management may be inadequate and face-to-face services may be required. Dr. Lee believes this can be managed as a step-by-step service channel for a “large” population requiring “low touch” services and a “small” population requiring “high fives”.
“Within the NHS, providers need to be able to leverage innovation to connect a variety of services to patient-centric, integrated channels,” she said.
By developing a rich patient-centric route, people can escalate from digital therapy to face-to-face care and do it in mixed ways, such as the first zoom call to make a diagnosis or establish a relationship. You can do it.
Equality of mental health services
The road to recovery in the mental health sector would not be possible without digital tools and cures. However, if you strive to increase your digital implementation, you can’t leave someone with limited connections or inaccessible digital (with a digital skill set). This is one of the reasons why UK GPs and other providers have recently noticed pressure to increase face-to-face bookings.
“We cannot reach 100% of the population, but in the unacceptable situation in the UK, people without digital means are inaccessible and the system is under great pressure to face everyone. There is a much higher level of inequality when looking at the system without digital treatment than with digital treatment. ”
Digital treatment may not be the answer to resolving inequality in access to mental health services, but it does provide a reliable solution that users can use at the right time and place. This allows more personalized face-to-face services to free up space to contact digitally excluded people while providing immediate support to those on the difficult waiting list.
Can Digital Treatment Help the Mental Health Management Process?
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