New digital centre to help improve mental health care

A new centre for digital innovation which could transform the way mental health care is provided has been launched.

The Centre for Translational Informatics (CTI) is led by by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust.  It brings together advances in analytics, software development and implementation to drive forward improvements in the way that mental health is treated, and provide solutions to the challenges presented by the data revolution in healthcare – what we call ‘digital pragmatism’.

Matthew Hotopf, director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) said: “The digital revolution offers extraordinary potential benefits for patients. CTI harnesses this potential, building on research breakthroughs made at the NIHR Maudsley BRC.

“We are bringing data scientists, computer scientists and clinicians together under one roof and partnering with some of the most exciting talent in digital innovation.”

Pioneers of digital healthcare and a wide range of experts, from across academia, the digital industries and clinical organisations, will showcase innovations including:

Virtual reality is providing a new way to assess thought, emotions and behaviour in mental health research.  Researchers from IoPPN are trialling VR for patients with psychosis, eating disorders and mood disorders.

Wearable and smartphone technology could offer new treatments, improve quality of life and revolutionise mental health care delivery.  RADAR-CNS, a five year project to remotely monitor variables including speech, activity, sleep, memory and cognition in patients with MS, epilepsy and depression; and SleepSight, which is monitoring sleep to prevent relapse in schizophrenia, are two exciting research projects in this area.

Patient controlled health records enable service users, clinicians, carers and researchers to contribute together to a more effective and efficient health and care experience.  Myhealthlocker at SLaM allows service users to have control over their health information – including accessing their care plan, keeping track of how they are feeling, accessing resources and tips on staying well, and managing their health and wellbeing.

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