25th September, 2020

DigitalHealth.London Alumni Dr Julian, an innovative mental healthcare platform, has been found to improve access to mental healthcare and deliver a high return on investment for the NHS.

Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) recently published the results of its health economic model that compares outcomes between Dr Julian and the current NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. Current IAPT services typically offer face to face therapies which some people can find difficult to access due to work, caring responsibilities, or mobility and travel limitations. The Dr Julian app aims to increase accessibility of mental healthcare, connecting patients almost immediately to mental healthcare therapists by secure video/audio/text appointments.

The platform links into IAPT services in England, providing an alternative to face to face therapy by offering people appointments with a therapist of their choice at a time that suits them and without the need to travel.

Using data across four providers currently using Dr Julian, and the extensive public IAPT dataset, the health economic modelling showed an NHS return of £1.33, and a total return (including social benefits) of £2.83 for every £1 spent over five-years.

The analysis also outlined a range of benefits for patients using Dr Julian, compared to users of the current NHS IAPT service approach:

• The patient drop-out rate was 49.8% lower
• Reliable recovery rates were 9.3% higher
• Reliable improvement rates were 17.3% higher
• The DNA (did not attend) rate was 50.9% lower

Dr Julian said: “We’re passionate about improving access to mental health. Having this evidence really helps us improve our offering and hopefully it will help make it easier for NHS Trusts to innovate their current services using our app. As an alumnus of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator we are continuing, long after our time on the programme, to develop relationships and gain support from the wider AHSN Network. The findings in the KSS AHSN evaluation, I hope will provide NHS organisations the evidence they need to confidently implement our Dr Julian app so we can work together to improve the mental health care and services for patients.”

Jenny Thomas, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London said: “The Accelerator supports some of the best innovators in digital health that meet NHS challenges. Dr Julian is a great example of that and the findings in the KSS AHSN evaluation really confirm that. The DigitalHealth.London Almuni continues to grow as a network and we look forward to supporting Dr Julian as part of that network.”

Ian Mylon, Head of Analytics Delivery at KSS AHSN, said: “To understand the potential value of Dr Julian, we have produced a health economic analysis, assessing return on investment by comparing the costs and benefits of the innovation against the current pathway. Our aim was to assess how the Dr Julian innovation could address current system challenges, and the extent to which Dr Julian could impact the healthcare system and wider society from an economical perspective. We’re now working with Dr Julian to facilitate effective use of our health economic model, in addition to brokering conversations with the mental health trusts in the KSS region, and feeding back value insight from commissioners and clinicians to the company. Our commercial team has also been closely involved in supporting Dr Julian with their business strategy and growth plans.”

To read the full evaluation please visit: kssahsn.net/bridging-the-gap/2626/ or to attend an AHSN Network market insight briefing email kssahsn.bridgingthegap@nhs.net