Clinical need

Launch of Eight Billion Minds to address unmet global mental health needs

September 27, 2019

Ieso Digital Health, a leader in internet-enabled cognitive behavioural therapy (IECBT), has launched Eight Billion Minds™, a new digital therapeutics program aiming to address the global and regional shortages of mental health therapists.

Eight Billion Minds is building the next generation of mental healthcare based on analysis of high volume, real-world clinical data from Ieso’s IECBT platform, ThinkWell™, with a vision to make mental health treatments accessible for all. Combining practical knowledge of delivering differentiated clinical outcomes with the application of deep learning to hundreds of thousands of hours of therapy, the company has decoded what works in real-world clinical settings and plans to use new technology to distribute highly personalized therapies on a scale that is just not possible in 1:1 delivery.

Ieso’s real-world data set contains more than 200,000 therapy hours from its ThinkWell technology-enabled 1:1 care platform. Using deep learning models and NLP (natural language processing), Eight Billion Minds quantifies and analyses intervention-outcome associations to gain understanding of therapy-related language and what aspects of psychotherapy are most effective. This learning will be used to create clinically engaging and effective digital therapeutics tools for mental health sufferers where there are simply not enough therapists globally to meet demand. It will also work to improve engagement with, and the efficacy of, traditional therapy delivery. Eight Billion Minds already understands which components of therapy are clinically most effective and has built tools to help enable therapists to diagnose and focus on the elements that have been proven by Ieso to have the most impact on a patient’s chances of recovery.

Dr Andy Blackwell, Group Chief Science and Strategy Officer for Ieso Digital Health, said:

“Depression and anxiety impact millions of people from all walks of life, everywhere. Emboldened by significant recent advances in science and engineering, we are launching Eight Billion Minds to catalyse development of a radical new generation of therapeutic solutions for mental health. Using deep learning and our unique data asset we have already made great advances in understanding what works in therapy, right down to individual words. Eight Billion Minds is using the latest technology to encapsulate this in a form that is scalable for distribution globally and removes barriers that are associated with mental healthcare today. We are building the next generation of mental healthcare.”

Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting 300 million people across the world, regardless of country income status. Almost two-thirds of lost workdays in the US are caused by mental illness. In the 36 largest countries where treatment is not accessible to everyone, anxiety and depression have resulted in more than 12 billion days of lost productivity. Inaction on mental illness is expected to cost the global economy $16 trillion in the 20-year period ending in 20303.

A global lack of therapists means that this problem cannot be solved through traditional treatment. Half of all countries have 4 or less psychiatrists to every 100,000 people and in low-income countries the ratio is 0.1 to every 100,000. The therapist shortage exists in high-income countries too, with the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reporting that 65% of non-metropolitan US counties do not have a psychiatrist and almost half of non-metropolitan counties (47%) do not have a psychologist.

Dr Blackwell concluded:

“With the widespread adoption of consumer technology and substantial advances in mental health science we now have an unprecedented opportunity to take the fight to mental illness globally.  We have demonstrated that taking a data-driven approach to mental healthcare results in better outcomes for patients. Empowered by clinical science and deep learning, we will now use these same data to discover and develop a radical new generation of therapeutic solutions for mental health conditions.  This is the role of Eight Billion Minds.”

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by Editor