Mental health

Major community care provider sees significant improvement in patient mental health outcomes after going digital

Cornelia Broqvist

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Major community care provider sees significant improvement in patient mental health outcomes after going digital</span>
  • Recovery rates for IAPT delivered via online consultation at Livewell Southwest reach 54%, surpassing NHS target.
  • ‘Did not attend’ rates for IAPT appointments dropped from 15% to 5% last year.
  • Findings underpin benefits of digital health as pandemic takes a toll on mental health.

Psychiatric counsellors seeing patients online during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen missed appointments plummet by two-thirds compared to face-to-face sessions before the pandemic, according to data from one large provider.

Recovery rates of people using the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service via video consultation with Livewell Southwest also have consistently risen to an all-time high of 54%.

Livewell Southwest rolled out its online platform, Livewell Connect, developed and hosted by digital health technology provider Visiba Care, in March of last year. The care provider has used the platform across several service areas and has seen particularly significant impacts in mental health.

This really shows the additional availability of digital pathways can complement face-to-face consultations, improve patient choice and even improve outcomes,
said Livewell Southwest CEO Dr Adam Morris.

Going completely online was obviously forced on us by COVID-19 but in a rural area like ours, where public transport is often poor, reducing the need for our service users to travel is a benefit that will outlast the pandemic. It’s allowed us more flexibility in being able to offer care for people when and where they need it, which is especially important for mental health care.

Dr Morris added:

What’s really helped is how easy Livewell Connect is to use, from either a laptop or a smartphone, and the fact that the platform is completely white-labelled so all the branding is that of Livewell Southwest, which helps patients and families recognise other helpful services we offer. This reassures service users who might be hesitant about using an online platform with third-party branding.

Statistics presented to Livewell Southwest’s Board last month showed ‘did not attend’ rates for the IAPT services dropped from 15% to 5% over the course of a year.

And the ‘recovery’ rate of people using the service – the proportion of users judged to have made a recovery from their condition to the extent that they no longer count as a clinical case – has soared from 27% just before the pandemic struck to a record 54% now. The NHS’s IAPT recovery target is 50%.

Other benefits of using remote consultations include lower carbon emissions (a significant reduction of over 8,500 kg) from reduced travel and lower mileage claims by staff. Livewell Connect is currently being used by staff providing mental and physical health as well as social care services.

Dr Morris said:

Staff were a bit apprehensive at first at moving entirely online. They were worried that they might struggle with the technology and also that their patients might, too. But the past year has well and truly proved that remote consultations work well for service users and staff, and bring real therapeutic benefits.

Patient satisfaction is also high, with patients having given an average rating of 3.9/4 on the quality of help received using the platform, and 95% saying they’d recommend a video consultation to someone they know.

Livewell Southwest is a community interest company providing integrated healthcare across Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon, to a population of around 330,000 people. More than 1,100 staff have been trained to use Livewell Connect. They are delivering an average of 1,600 online consultations a month.

Tina Marshall of Visiba Care UK said:

It is great to see these results from Livewell Southwest; we are so pleased staff and service users find our system so easy to use, and ultimately, that patient health is improving because of it. Mental health especially has suffered due to the pandemic, so it’s critical that people have access to the services they need in a way that will be most beneficial for them.

About Visiba Care

Visiba Care was founded on the strong conviction that digital transformation is inevitable if healthcare is to offer equal, qualitative and safe services in the future. Visiba Care has customers in five different markets and the platform is used in many different healthcare operations, from integrated care to primary care and secondary care. With a vision of using digital technology to allow healthcare services to improve people’s lives, in-depth experience of digital transformation, and respect for healthcare organisations’ expertise and abilities, Visiba Care is a reliable partner which always puts the customer’s success first.

About Livewell Southwest

Livewell Southwest is an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise providing integrated health and social care services for people in Plymouth, and community health services in South Hams and West Devon as well as some specialist services for those living in other areas of Devon and Cornwall.

Livewell Southwest was recently rated as ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission with ‘outstanding’ ratings for the services it delivers for people with learning disabilities in Plymouth and the acute mental health unit at Glenbourne.

Julia Simac, ZPB Associates
Phone: +44 (0) 7834 523001

Visiba Group AB
Adolf Edelsvärds Gata 11 Göteborg, 414 51
Phone: 0761993666