Digital care for mental health of kidney disease patients
Two digital healthcare companies are aiming to alleviate depression among people with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
ThriveHealth has partnered with behavioural healthcare company Waypoint Health Innovations to improve the mental health of patients with CKD.
It is estimated that at least 20% of CKD patients suffer from depression. Patients with kidney disease who require dialysis can spend several hours a day, three or more times a week receiving treatment, which impacts on their mental health.
The aim of the platform is to identify patients showing signs of depression so that professionals can intervene quickly and help them manage their symptoms. Waypoint Health has a digital CBT program that provides a structured curriculum, using a combination of symptom assessments, video and interactive tools to create a personalised programme for each patient.
As Waypoint's platform learns more about patients through its algorithm, it offers increasingly specific feedback and recommendations, emulating the work of a live therapist.
ThriveHealth says that in a clinical study, participants who received access to the platform, including with severe symptoms, experienced significantly more improvement over eight weeks than participants who did not.
"The idea of ThriveHealth was conceived three years ago as I envisioned the quality of life patients would have if they had access to care on their terms; increased choice, access, family involvement, language barrier elimination and price transparency" explains CEO Joyce Nwatuobi.
"ThriveHealth empowers patients' to receive quality care on their own terms and makes it easy for providers to scale access to virtual care simply and securely. Once they sign up, they will also have the opportunity to participate in the provider panel for the provision of telehealth services to our partner hospitals and healthcare centres" Nwatuobi adds.
Advances in health "must ensure self-sovereign identity"
The UK government has announced that from September onwards COVID-19 vaccine passports will be necessary to gain entry into places with large crowds, such as nightclubs.
This has reignited the debate between those who believe having proof of vaccinations will enable people to gather in public places and travel safely, and those who view the digital certificates as an attack on personal freedom.
The arguments have increased in intensity since the recent announcement to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England, in a move to reopen the economy that has attracted fierce criticism both domestically and overseas.
Cross-party ministers are set to defy the government’s latest plans to introduce vaccine passports over civil liberties concerns. A number of MPs have already signed the Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months.
However Mark Shaw, CEO of Tento Applied Sciences, says the Big Brother Watch campaign is based on false assumptions. “Big Brother Watch puts forward a compelling argument based around civil liberties, but some of the assumptions they make are simply incorrect” he says.
“For example, the BBW campaign claims that all Covid passes are discriminatory, counterproductive and would lead to British citizens having to share personal health information with anyone in authority, from bouncers to bosses. However, there are already privacy-first digital wallets that give individuals the freedom to store and share anonymised medical documents, work credentials and other types of documentation quickly, simply, and securely.
“I wholeheartedly agree that individuals should not be required to share their own personal health information with unknown third parties or with anyone in authority who demands it" Shaw adds. "But I strongly disagree with the suggestion that ‘events and businesses are either safe to open for everyone, or no one’. It creates a false dichotomy that either everyone is safe, or nobody is safe. If employers or event organisers don’t take action to properly manage workplace or venue safety, then they risk curtailing the safety and freedom of movement for the majority."
The subject of personal health data is under scrutiny in the UK at the moment, following controversial plans for the NHS to share patient data with third parties. These have been put on hold following public criticism.
Meanwhile a new report has found that the majority of the British public is willing to embrace digital healthcare tools such as apps and digital therapies prescribed by a trusted healthcare professional.
Shaw adds: “The vital point to make is this: innovations in health technology must ensure self-sovereign identity. This means the data held about an individual is owned by the individual and stored on their device. And, in the case of medical data, that data can be delivered from healthcare professionals to the device in an encrypted format, and the user chooses how they share their information."