MyHealthE: Digital Innovation in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Young boy using smartphone, only hiw hands are visible

To mark Children's Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022), we are highlighting some of the services and research projects that are working to improve young people's mental health in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

Every day, clinicians in mental health services make critical decisions about patient care such as which type of medication or psychosocial treatment to offer. For children and people with neurodevelopmental disorders, these clinical decisions are often based on research studies that typically have small sample sizes.  

This issue is now being addressed through the use of digital technologies. MyHealthE is a BRC-funded digital tool which has been trialled among children and young people and shown to make significant improvements to the efficiency of research.

Integrating smartphone data with patient-reported outcomes

It’s now possible for researchers to combine NHS information systems with the data available from devices that patients already use daily, such as smartphones and wearable devices like Fitbits. MyHealthE is a digital service which integrates data from online patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) with NHS electronic records to inform clinical decision making. When BRC-funded researchers worked with patients and their families to trial MyHealthE in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, they found a 12-fold increase in PROM completion. This means that when a new treatment is started it’s much easier to understand whether it is having the desired effect.

Developed to work with different providers across the UK

MyHealthE has now been adapted for efficient recruitment to mental health digital therapy trials. For example, NIHR has funded MyHealthE to trial rapid access to a parenting app (STEPS) for families to quickly access effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). MyHealthE has been developed to work across different health and social care providers, and has agreements with 12 NHS and local authority sites across the north and south of the UK with over 1300 families enrolled, increasing by 50 families per week.

MyHealthE will act as a foundation for the development of new informatics and digital tools to scale-up assessment, intervention and monitoring of patients, and to enrich future research programmes within the BRC. For example,  it can be used to quickly assess which online mental health self-management resources or medicines are most useful.

This is a virtuous cycle: as digital tools directly improve patient experience and clinical care, this will lead to more efficient and larger research studies, which will in turn lead to better treatments.

Tags: Child & Neurodevelopmental disorders - Digital Therapies -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 8 Feb 2022, 14:48 PM

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