Mayden awarded NHS England funding to develop online ‘Talking Therapies’ hub

After months of rigorous competition, we are delighted to announce that Mayden has been awarded an SBRI Healthcare development contract to test out an idea that could create a sea change in the uptake and use of online psychological therapies in the UK.

Mayden applied for the prestigious Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which offers funding to develop and test innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, and particularly those that may make a difference to people with mental health issues.

Having won the SBRI Healthcare award, Mayden will spend the next six months testing the feasibility of a secure, cloud based hub for choosing and accessing online psychological therapy. Should this prove successful, we will progress – with the SBRI’s ongoing support – to develop a prototype to connect NHS services managing patients in need of psychological therapy, with therapists over the internet.

Mental illness costs the UK economy £100bn a year. Anxiety and depression are the most common disorders affecting 5 million people in England at any one time, and ‘Talking Therapies’ are known to be one of the most effective interventions. The NHS’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme has taken huge strides in making talking therapy more accessible, but to date IAPT reaches only 15% of those in need, and demand is ever increasing. This has resulted in gradually increasing waiting lists.

There is good evidence that therapy delivered by therapists over the web rather than face to face can be an invaluable option to IAPT services. Online therapy allows patients to access a personal therapist or other therapeutic resources 24/7, through online chat or video conferencing. It removes the need to travel, and offers patients greater choice in how and when they access therapy. All in all, it is a cost-effective way of improving access, increasing throughput, addressing unmet need, whilst also expanding choice of treatment options for patients.

Despite this, across the country many IAPT services are yet to offer online treatment as part of their service. This is often due to difficulties in selecting suitable providers, and challenges around security of patient records, contracts, administration and payment.

The online therapies hub could remove these obstacles by connecting patients and referring IAPT services with a range of online therapy suppliers across a common technology platform.

The hub will provide a mechanism for IAPT services to engage with an array of proven online therapy providers, helping them find, review, select and book treatment for patients. By managing the administrative and commercial transactions between service provider, patient and online supplier, it will encourage greater use of online therapies by the former while overcoming route-to-market issues facing the latter.

Online therapy suppliers have been very supportive of Mayden’s bid application. These include Big White Wall, Silver Cloud Health, Psychology Online, ILT Solutions, Fear Fighter, Living Life to the Full, GRiST, Beating the Blues and ithinksmarter.

We are very excited about this project, and hope it will help IAPT services make greater use of this cost effective and under-utlised treatment modality.

Chris May, Managing Director at Mayden commented: “Many IAPT services now have long waiting times. Online therapies provide an alternative range of cost effective treatment options but with no waiting list. With the SBRI funding we will be able to help services access these treatments more easily, achieving lower waits and reduced costs at the same time.”

This work was commissioned and funded by NHS England. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily that of the funding partners.

About SBRI
The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, championed by the newly formed Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), who aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.

Part of Innovation Health and Wealth, the SBRI Healthcare programme sets industry the challenge in a series of health related competitions which result in fully funded development contracts between the awarded company and the NHS. Unlike many R&D projects which offer grant or match funding, SBRI contracts are 100 per cent funded and the company retains the intellectual property.

About Mayden
Mayden specialise in innovative, flexible and cloud-based software solutions. We are driven by the desire to add real value to healthcare by developing applications that have the power to change the way services are delivered by staff, and experienced by patients. Our patient management system for psychological therapies (IAPTus) is the market leading solution and is being used by over 90 organisations nationwide covering 70% of the country.

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