Two endorsements, one year. Healios Founder discusses what it means to work with NICE
Healios Founder, Chairman and CEO Richard Andrews, is interviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on receiving two endorsements from England’s national clinical watchdog.
The full interview is below and if you would like to check out highlights, visit the NICE blog page - click here
Could you please give me a brief overview of your organisation, what you do? Healios focuses on creating exceptional mental health and neurodevelopmental services that fit into our everyday busy lives. Before Healios, getting adequate mental healthcare was stressful and time consuming for everyone - waiting months for an appointment, taking off work or removing children from school to attend, planning travel arrangements, limited family involvement in the care planning and more. Healios is the opposite. With Healios, the entire family is provided with the necessary care through our innovative online platform and digital tools, available on any connected device, personalised to their circumstance and needs. In order to reach the most people in need, we’ve partnered with the NHS to deliver assessments, psychological treatments, and well-being monitoring all available through our online platform and via our app. At the core of Healios is an emphasis on working with not only the patient, but the family, loved ones, and others critical to the patient’s well-being to help maximise the benefits of their treatment and realise long-term outcomes.
Please could you tell me about Healios’ services? At Healios, we offer a range of online clinical assessments (ADHD, autism, etc.) and psychological treatments for mental illness (anxiety, depression, eating disorders, psychosis, etc.). We provide all of our services using our online platform and Healios app that are easily accessible on a device you’re already well-versed in using - your phone, laptop, tablet, and more.
First, we receive a referral from the local NHS mental health services where the patient is immediately assigned to one of our Healios qualified clinicians aligned to the patient’s needs and the kick-off session is set.
Next, we activate the patient’s Healios profile and give them a tour of our platform. The patient will also download the Healios app and will confirm upcoming appointments.
Lastly, we’re ready to go. Treatment begins and the patient, as well as any family members or loved ones, join their sessions at a time and place that works well for them.
Picture it: A young patient joins his session at 7:30pm from his bedroom on his tablet, while his mother joins the same session from her laptop where she was working late in the office.
We’ve found that by eliminating the stresses of the traditional service model, we can deliver more sessions, more treatments, more mental health care to more people and they’re more engaged because it becomes embedded into their daily life. We strive to make our service fit around the patient’s lifestyle with as little stress and effort as possible, so we offer extended flexible hours on evenings and weekends to make it even easier to connect for sessions.
To keep engagement levels high, we provide a variety of fun and interactive digital tools that cater to different learning styles, which can be particularly important for children and young people. The feedback Healios has received to date has been incredible, and we’re seeing every day how we are offering patients and their families the best chance of success with their treatment by leveraging new technologies and innovative tools.
How did you come up with the idea for Healios? Several years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia. I would go and visit him and he’d remember less and less every visit, which you’re told to expect. What I didn’t expect was feeling completely unprepared to support him and that I had to simply wait and watch him deteriorate without any tools to help him cope. I wasn’t expecting how it would impact me and my family or how unready we were for these moments. On top of this, getting his appointments with healthcare professionals were months away and then there was the additional stress of travelling and for family members to take time off work. I would love to say my grandfather’s case was a one-off instance in our healthcare system, but after having other family members suffer from mental illness, I recognised there was a gap between what people needed from their care, and what they were getting - and that’s when I created Healios.
How did you develop this? What did this involve? Firstly, I wanted to understand what other families were going through when they had someone in their life affected by mental illness. With the help of a mental health trust in the South of England, I was approved as a clinical observer to join healthcare professionals visiting almost a hundred homes impacted by severe mental illness. It was an overwhelming emotional experience to see so many families being torn apart through the impact of a loved one with mental illness. This experience gave me invaluable insight into the daily challenges families were facing and helped me to crystallise the vision for Healios. Initially, we focused on severe mental illness, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, because I felt this is where Healios could make the most impact based on my experience as a clinical observer. It was then all about assembling a hugely talented and world class team of clinical experts in psychology and technical engineers to build and evaluate our digital services and tools. We’ve continued to grow and expand our service areas from here.
How does Healios help implement NICE guidance and quality standards? At Healios we not only focus on having a foundation built upon evidence-based psychological interventions that meet NICE clinical guidelines, but also in the flawless implementation of the highest quality standards to ensure everyone gets the same quality of service no matter where they are in the country, every single time. We use technology to augment our quality standards and support our supervision models across all our clinical pathways. This means our clinicians are continuously monitored and provided with ongoing continuing professional development every week.
Why do you think it’s important to implement NICE guidance and quality standards? NICE guidelines are important to guide clinicians in an evidence-based way. They set a clear standard for treatment, increasing quality and giving people the best chance of receiving high quality care. Implementation of the NICE guidelines is pivotal to providing patients with the best care, and setting them up for success and an improved quality of life.
How does Healios improve patient care? Are cost effectiveness attached to using Healios? Healios is about providing mental healthcare services that fit around your everyday life making it simple and convenient to get the effective care that you need. We want anyone that needs mental healthcare to be able to access it from the palm of their hand - with their phone, tablet or other devices that they already have - so they can get high-quality support, when and where they need it. We believe that families, close friends and others who are critical to a person’s wellbeing, should be given the opportunity to be included in the care plan to help maximise the results. At Healios, we improve patient care by delivering evidence-based care aligned to personal circumstance without all the stresses and barriers that typically arise when accessing treatment. Simultaneously, we strive to create innovative digital offerings that improve patient engagement and deliver cost efficiencies to the NHS. With our service, more patients can receive treatment in a way that resonates with them, improving lives, increasing access and transforming care.
Where did you hear about NICE’s endorsements? Healios presented our psychosis and schizophrenia clinical data at an AHSN organised conference and it was there that we first spoke with a delegate from NICE about their endorsement programme. That essentially started our journey in obtaining two NICE endorsements in less than a year.
What made you want to apply? Fundamentally, before we do anything else, we set the expectation at Healios to deliver the highest quality clinical services that are built on evidence-based techniques. Applying for the NICE endorsement was an opportunity to have one of the most respected and internationally recognised clinical organisation in the world review the ‘bread and butter’ of our services and provide that critical external validation.
How was the application process? What was the best thing about it? It was a straightforward process, professionally managed, with clear guidance on what was needed at each step. Going through the application process was valuable for us, as we had leading mental health experts at NICE review and critique the elements of our service and provide their feedback.
When did you find out you’d been endorsed? How did it feel? We’re grateful to have been endorsed twice. Our first was in April 2016 in the area of psychosis and schizophrenia, and our most recent was in March 2017 in the area of CBT treatment for anxiety disorders in children and young people. Everyone at Healios was thrilled with the outcome and further validated all of our hard work and efforts.
How has the endorsement helped with your work? Why? What does it mean for your organisation? The NICE endorsement has further validated all of the hard work and effort our Healios teams put into providing consistently high-quality evidenced-based treatments. This recognition not only distinguishes our service, but it also provides confidence and comfort to the NHS organisations, clinical teams and commissioners that we work with that they can trust that Healios delivers services aligned to best practice.
Healios is the UK’s leading digital healthcare company, bringing the whole family together to maximise long-term outcomes and well-being. We reimagine the way children, young people, and adults access and receive mental health services by blending the best of technology with specialised clinical expertise and a personal human connection. At Healios, we transform mental health services by providing quicker diagnosis, faster access to evidence-based psychological therapies, and earlier intervention to create a unique online experience - getting patients and families the right care when and where they need it.
For more information, visit www.healios.org.uk