SME of the Week: Mahana

Jon Scholefield, Managing Director of SME of the week, Mahana Therapeutics, shares an update on the company’s collaboration with IAPTs and Gastroenterologists following a NICE recommendation to evaluate Mahana IBS in practice. Jon explains how robust, scalable digital therapies such as Mahana IBS are key to transforming treatment for chronic conditions like IBS, which affect an estimated 10% of the UK population.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gut disorder costing the NHS over £200 Million annually. Laura Day is one IBS patient who has frequently returned to her GP since her teens with very distressing symptoms before being finally being referred to her Gastroenterologist.

Brain Gut Communication

Leading Gastroenterologists tell us that millions are spent on unnecessary procedures and treatments, as IBS is primarily a disorder of the Brain-Gut Communication. NICE guidance recommends treatment of IBS with psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT), however the NHS doesn’t have enough psychotherapists to treat the millions who would benefit. 

Mahana IBS, a digital gut-directed CBT programme validated at Kings College London, provides a solution to transform access to CBT for IBS. It can be delivered as a guided programme with therapist support via IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) centres, or via a mobile app as a self-guided program at the point of care. We believe Mahana IBS provides a scalable digital solution to offer a safe and effective treatment for IBS earlier in care pathways to help patients like Laura avoid years of suffering. Laura was part of the world’s largest clinical trial that validated Mahana IBS efficacy on the IBS symptom severity scale (IBS SSS). She described the Mahana IBS programme as ‘the least invasive and the most effective treatment I’ve ever had, and the only one that has worked.’

Developed over 20 years

Mahana IBS a personalised programme based on an empirical CBT model for IBS, which has been interactively developed over a period of 20 years. Mahana Therapeutics enhanced the programme by following NICE guidelines and incorporating feedback from patients and therapists. It teaches users skills to manage their IBS symptoms, over a period of eight to ten weeks. Patients unlock rich educational content and tools at their own pace to support healthy thoughts and behaviours, eating, exercise, and sleep patterns.

Since being recommended by NICE for evaluation in practice, Mahana is working closely with IAPTs and Gastroenterologists to introduce Mahana IBS into clinical practice and was excited to receive CA Mark earlier this year for the Mobile App product version.

First to Pilot

Homerton’s ‘Talk Changes’ IAPT service became the first to pilot the guided version of Mahana IBS, which allows therapists to interact and provide support for patients during the programme whilst still saving significant Therapist time. We are now working with other IAPTs and also Gastroenterologists, Dieticians and IBS clinics to offer our self guided Mobile App version of Mahana IBS.

Being part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme is giving us the opportunity to profile Mahana IBS to multiple NHS stakeholders and work in a truly collaborative way to develop and refine our product offering to suit NHS requirements.

Ready to Scale and Deploy

Our shared vision is to provide affordable and broad access to as many people as possible, making Laura’s story a reality for the millions who could benefit. We’re ready to scale and deploy nationally in the NHS and would welcome contact from NHS stakeholders involved in IBS care pathways to explore opportunities to work together.

For more information: Contact Mahana

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Mahana is part of the sixth cohort of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by two of London’s Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.