Journey into Tech
1. Please tell us about your role and the company you work for?
My objective is to lead the company in developing digital therapeutics that offer a unique, customised, and personalised experience for patients. Our main objective is to ensure that patients living with long-term conditions have access to healthcare from anywhere. Adding to that the ability for them to be accessed and used on almost any device, from laptops and smartphones to smart TV’s. Ensuring that the wider population can easily access support is extremely important no matter what their level of digital literacy is.
2. How is mental health dented by pandemic issues? How can patients cope with the depression?
The importance of mental health has been amplified over the past year, and from what I have seen it has opened up the discussion more broadly, minimising the stigma, normalising and creating awareness around the issues.
The integration of technology to support with the diagnosis of mental health, and offering the right support has been long awaited by the industry, as well as by society at large. Technology can work quickly to present users with answers to specific questions and help to analyse the issues a patient may be battling, or dealing with.
Apps developed to help with anxiety, for example, are extremely promising, as they provide patients with instant, continuous support at their fingertips. That said, while digital health is tackling these issues, there is still work to be done and improvements to be made.
To ensure that patients are receiving optimum mental health care, they must have access to the right information. On average patients are offered 7-10 minutes for their GP appointments which is simply not enough time to provide context and explain what they’re going through. This requires more intrinsic questioning and a longer discussion. Digital technology can offer something when services lack capacity and resilience to provide patients with interventions that are often required at short notice.
3. What is myhealth app and how you brought it to the market?
My mhealth is a digital therapeutics platform that offers digital support and interventions to all patients and assists with the move to remotely monitored healthcare.
I was a COPD consultant at Southampton General Hospital, looking after patients who were coming to the end stage, and it was hard to make an impact other than with treatment to support their symptoms. In 2008 we had around 6,000 patients in the commissioning area and there seemed to be a real opportunity to do something different and make a difference, so we moved from a hospital setting to the community which was unusual then. We started off with educational materials and a website that included relevant information on the condition at hand. And after just a month we couldn’t believe how much better patients were because they were better informed. It was from this point that we knew we had a product that could make a difference in the healthcare industry.
4. Tell us more about the role of depression assessment for general population? what age does this set in?
Dr Lloyd Humphreys, a clinical psychologist and head of Europe at SilverCloud Health, says: ‘There isn’t a minimum age to diagnose depression, but it takes an assessment of a combination of behavioural, emotional and, where possible, cognitive factors, which makes it harder to diagnose the younger the child. In the case of the recent data showing a potential legacy of depression from Covid and which has underlined our Space from Covid programme, these are adults who have rated their wellbeing low enough that it could require depression assessment. Our treatment programme is for those who are 18+ as it is a self-referral system and focuses on many adult topics, so we need to ensure it is used by those it is designed to best support. As we know, the pandemic though could impact wellbeing and mental health issues for anyone of any age so it is important that a range of suitable treatments are available for anyone who needs it’.
Thank you, Dr Simon! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.
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Co-founder Dr Simon Bourne is a former military doctor and NHS medical consultant, specialising in respiratory medicine and a leading COPD consultant at University Hospital Southampton. The digital therapeutics platform empowers patients and clinical teams to manage patients with COVID-19, as well as Asthma, COPD, Diabetes and Heart Disease using digital therapeutics.
my mhealth is the UKs leading digital therapeutics company. They deliver population-scale health care interventions to patients with long term conditions, that meet the needs of individual patients. Their simple on-boarding process assesses the patient through validated, patient-reported outcomes measures, health assessments and data collected from medical devices. They then provide patients with a unique and tailored evidence-based digital intervention that is proven to improve health outcomes and reduce health service dependence. As well as providing software to patients, they empower clinical teams with products that facilitate the remote monitoring and management of patients, enabling clinical services to prioritise and manage patients at both a population and individual level. During wave 1 and 2 of the pandemic, my mhealth delivered over 250,000 education and rehabilitation sessions to patients with COPD, and 100,000s interventions to patients with other long-term conditions.