SilverCloud and Microsoft announce research collaboration for mental health

Digital mental health company, SilverCloud Health, has announced a research collaboration with Microsoft to enhance its online offering with artificial intelligence (AI).

SilverCloud Health and Microsoft Labs in Cambridge have been working together over the past 18 months, in research that combines Microsoft’s machine learning and AI technologies with SilverCloud’s delivery of evidence-based interventions and mental health outcomes.

Christopher Bishop, lab director, Microsoft Research, said: “SilverCloud Health is one of the very few digital mental health platforms that has been deployed at scale in routine clinical care, and currently has the largest real-world patient user base of its kind. The aim of this project is very much aligned to our ambition to empower healthcare workers and patients through access to effective, intelligent technologies.”

One in four adults are affected by a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year but access to mental healthcare can be difficult to access due to resource constrained services.

SilverCloud’s digital mental health platform is used across 75% of NHS mental health services in IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) and over 250 organisations globally. With over 1 million hours of therapy delivered since spinning out from research in 2012, the breadth of this data provides an opportunity for deep research collaboration and to change how online therapy is delivered for the NHS.

Together, Microsoft and SilverCloud Health are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to accelerate the understanding and delivery of personalised mental healthcare that responds to each patient’s unique situation, including early interventions to optimise clinical outcomes, thereby ensuring patients have access to the right support and content at the right time and in the right context. Further opportunities also exist in identifying successful patterns in therapist/supporter behaviour to improve therapeutic effectiveness.

Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud Health, said: “Through this exciting research collaboration with Microsoft, SilverCloud Health will be able to leverage the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance our digital mental health platform. This truly is therapy for the 21st century; enabling more personalised treatment, earlier and easier access, and most importantly delivering ever increasing clinical outcomes.”


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