Digital mental health company SilverCloud Health has partnered with Microsoft Labs in Cambridge to explore how machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to personalise mental healthcare.
Together, the companies are researching how digital therapeutics could be tailored to respond to each individual’s unique care needs.
This includes providing early interventions that ensure patients have access to the right support at the right time, and in the right context.
By applying machine learning and AI, Microsoft and SilverCloud hope to identify patterns of successful therapy that can be used to improve the effectiveness of digital therapeutics.
Christopher Bishop, lab director for Microsoft Research in Cambridge, said: “SilverCloud Health is one of the very few digital mental health platforms that has been deployed at scale in routine clinical care, and currently has the largest real-world patient user base of its kind.
“The aim of this project is very much aligned to our ambition to empower healthcare workers and patients through access to effective, intelligent technologies.”
SilverCloud Health offers more than 30 digital therapeutics programs.
Its digital mental health platform is used across 75% of NHS mental health services in IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), and 250 organisations globally.
The platform is designed to remove the barriers that prevent patients from accessing mental health services.
These can include cost and clinical resources.
The company has been working with Microsoft Labs in Cambridge over the past 18 months as part of research that combines Microsoft’s machine learning and AI technologies with SilverCloud’s expertise in digital therapeutics.
The project will use data from more than one million hours of therapy delivered by SilverCloud since 2012, which it hopes will “change how online therapy is delivered for the NHS.”
Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health, said: “Through this exciting research collaboration with Microsoft, SilverCloud Health will be able to leverage the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance our digital mental health platform.
“This truly is therapy for the 21st century; enabling more personalised treatment, earlier and easier access, and most importantly delivering ever increasing clinical outcomes.”
Digital therapeutics are increasingly being recognised for their effectiveness in improving access to mental health services.
In August, the University of Central Lancashire became the first UK university to offer digital therapy training as part of its curriculum.
This will be delivered in partnership with SilverCloud Health.