The Lincolnshire e-clinics pilot is planned to test the introduction of information and communications technology (ICT) into an existing primary care mental health service. A team from CPSR has been asked to evaluate the service (1).
Current Government strategy on health, work and well-being (2) includes a commitment to improve access to and choice of effective psychological therapies for people with common mental health problems. This policy is currently being implemented through a substantial recurrent investment (£170m) in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative. ICT is used in IAPT sites in providing computerised cognitive behaviour therapy as recommended by NICE (3) and in supporting case managers providing low-intensity interventions (e.g. guided self-help via telephone) (4).
Compared with the independent sector, the NHS has been slow to adopt ICT as a delivery model for psychological therapies (5). Although it is known that conventional delivery of psychological therapies is inequitable (6) (for example, they are less accessible or acceptable to young males, people with agoraphobia or rural residents) the NHS lacks well-designed and evaluated demonstrations of new formats for therapy delivery. The innovative Lincolnshire e-clinics project intends to pilot an ICT software platform to allow call scheduling, internet and e-mail based therapy delivery, client drop-in to an internet chatroom, flexible clinic booking, and flexible use of the workforce with therapists working from home.
The City of London Digital Inclusion Team wishes to commission an evaluation of this project. This document presents proposals from the Centre for Psychological Services Research for this evaluation.
- HM Government. Health, work and well-being – caring for our future. A strategy for the health and well-being of working age people. 2006.
- National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence. Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety. NICE technology appraisal guidance 97, 2006.
- Richards, D. & Suckling, R. Improving Access to Psychological Therapies: the Doncaster Demonstration Site organisational model.; Clinical Psychology Forum, January 2008
- Walker, M. Mental Health Treatment Online. Report commissioned by the Digital Inclusion Team City of London. Bournemouth University November 2007
- Department of Health. Organising and delivering Psychological Therapies Services. Best Practice Guidance. July 2004
The CPSR Evaluation Team
Members of CPSR staff who will be directly involved in the evaluation include: