Healthier together – The EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative

Healthier together – The EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative

Did you know that every year, 41 million people die from non-communicable diseases (71% of all deaths worldwide) and that over 15 million people out of those are only aged 30-69 [1]?

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are defined as chronic health conditions that have “genetic, lifestyle, or environmental causes rather than viral or bacterial” ones [2]. NCDs are not contagious, but they do result in long-term health issues and often require long-term treatment and care [2]. Apart from diseases such as cancer or diabetes, mental disorders also fall into the category of non-communicable diseases [1]. 

In a previous blog post, we explored approaches taken to improve mental health in Denmark. But what are we actually doing on an EU level to ease the burden of mental illness on our international societies?

The  EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative
In order to fight non-communicable diseases and support the people suffering from them, the European Commission has launched the Healthier together – EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative (EU NCD Initiative), aimed at covering the period from 2022 to 2027. The main objective of this initiative is “to support EU countries in identifying and implementing effective policies and actions to reduce the burden of major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and improve citizens’ health and well-being.” [3].

One of the five strands covered by the initiative is mental health and neurological disorders.
The EU NCD Initiative aims at mental health and well-being promotion, improved prevention and treatment of mental disorders, and better support for individuals suffering from mental health problems. In order to accomplish this, a need for setting up improved “supportive structures, mechanisms and processes for integrated policies and actions to support mental health” has been defined [3].

Collaborative action on mental health and neurological disorders
The European Commission has suggested several “work packages” on mental health and neurological disorders, with the goal to reduce the burden of mental illness on our international society. Possible priority areas defined include:

  • Adopting a mental health-in-all-policies approach: Overall creation of favourable conditions addressing environmental and social determinants for better mental health 
  • Focusing on mental health promotion and mental illness prevention, e.g. by supporting “the development of social and emotional skills in childhood” [3] and by preventing burnout and stress at the workplace
  • Improving the provision of access to high-quality mental health services, e.g. by increasing the capacity in order to meet the growing need for mental health support
  • Tackling stigma against mental health conditions and enhancing the social inclusion of individuals suffering from poor mental health

Digitalization needs to become a priority
According to Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, “personnel shortages [and] insufficient recruitment and retention […] are blighting health systems” [4].

While the need to hire more trained professionals is undoubtedly critical to improve mental health services, this may also be an opportunity for scalable technologies to improve the reach of the current workforce to serve the needs of patients waiting to receive care.

Surprisingly, when being asked to indicate overall priority areas across the different strands covered by the NCD initiative, only two EU countries (specify which) endorsed “digital tools to support health promotion, disease prevention and management” as a priority area [3].

In contrast, a large study by Elsevier Health (2022) shows that 77% of international clinicians expect tech companies to become “key stakeholders in managing healthcare systems in 10 years”, and that the majority of clinicians (70%) believe an increased use of digital technologies will transform healthcare positively [5].

The use of digital technology offers the potential to address challenges in European mental health services. In particular, the use of digital platforms for remote patient monitoring and health assessment could improve access and speed to care, and real-time patient analytics could enable personalised treatment and improved quality of care [5]. 

In summary, the EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative has ambitious goals to provide better mental health services to more people. However, with the majority of EU countries not endorsing “digital tools to support health promotion, disease prevention and management” [3] as a priority area, raising awareness about the potential of digital health is highly important if these goals are to be achieved.
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About Monsenso
Monsenso is an innovative technology company offering a digital health solution used for decentralised trials, remote patient monitoring and treatment support. Our mission is to contribute to improved health for more people at lower costs by supporting treatment digitally and leveraging patient-reported outcomes data. Our solution helps optimise the treatment and gives a detailed overview of an individual’s health through the collection of outcome, adherence, and behavioural data. It connects individuals, carers, and health care providers to enable personalised treatment, remote care, and early intervention. We collaborate with health and social care, pharmaceuticals, and leading researcher worldwide in our endevaours to deliver solutions that fit into the life of patients and health care professionals. To learn more visit  www.monsenso.com.

References:
[1] World Health Organization (2021). Noncommunicable diseases. 
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases

[2] WebMD (n.d.). What Is Non-Communicable Disease?
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-non-communicable-disease

[3] European Commission (2022). Healthier Together – EU non-Communicable Disease Initiative.
https://health.ec.europa.eu/non-communicable-diseases/healthier-together-eu-non-communicable-diseases-initiative_en

[4] World Health Organization (2022). Ticking timebomb: Without immediate action, health and care workforce gaps in the European Region could spell disaster.
https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/14-09-2022-ticking-timebomb–without-immediate-action–health-and-care-workforce-gaps-in-the-european-region-could-spell-disaster

[5] Elsevier Health (2022). Clinician of the Future Report 2022.
https://www.elsevier.com/connect/clinician-of-the-future

Monsenso signs contract with private Danish psychiatric clinic Appia Klinikken in Søborg

Monsenso signs contract with private Danish psychiatric clinic Appia Klinikken in Søborg

Monsenso signs a contract with the private Danish psychiatric clinic Appia Klinikken in Søborg, Zealand. The Monsenso digital health solution will be implemented at the beginning of 2023 and will be used to support patients and clinicians at the clinic.

Appia Klinikken is a Danish specialist psychiatric clinic offering treatment and support to individuals suffering from mental illness. Though the clinic has a focus on child and adolescent mental health, it offers treatment to individuals of all age groups.

The team of psychologists and psychiatrists at Appia Klinikken is led by specialist psychiatrist Mie Bonde, who “is professionally recognized for her holistic approach and for her work with clients with ADHD and/or ASD diagnoses, as well as clients with abuse combined with diagnosis(es)” [1].

The Monsenso solution will be used at Appia Klinikken for two different purposes. Primarily, the Monsenso solution will be used to screen patients while they are waiting for treatment and to monitor them during treatment. Secondly, the Monsenso solution will be used to collect data for effect documentation of a newly established type of treatment called “hypnotherapy” and for use of medication.

Specialist psychiatrist Mie Bonde says: “The Monsenso digital health solution will not only enable us to support patients more actively during treatment, but also to give patients information on how to reduce stress while they are still waiting to receive treatment. Waiting lists are something we cannot avoid entirely, but tools like the Monsenso solution enable us to make them more proactive”.
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About Monsenso
Monsenso is an innovative technology company offering a digital health solution used for decentralised trials, remote patient monitoring and treatment support. Our mission is to contribute to improved health for more people at lower costs by supporting treatment digitally and leveraging patient-reported outcomes data. Our solution helps optimise the treatment and gives a detailed overview of an individual’s health through the collection of outcome, adherence, and behavioural data. It connects individuals, carers, and health care providers to enable personalised treatment, remote care, and early intervention. We collaborate with health and social care, pharmaceuticals, and leading researcher worldwide in our endevaours to deliver solutions that fit into the life of patients and health care professionals. To learn more visit  www.monsenso.com.

References:
[1] Appia Klinikken (n.d.). Appia Klinikken – Vejenes dronning.
https://www.appia-klinikken.dk/

Digital health as a support tool for waiting lists in mental health services

Digital health as a support tool for waiting lists in mental health services

The need for mental health support is growing in Europe, and waiting lists are becoming longer as mental health services struggle to meet the demand. But are additional human resources really the answer to these problems, or do we maybe need to search for new solutions?

In Denmark, over 500.000 Danish citizens currently live with one or multiple mental health disorders [1] and approximately half of the Danish population will suffer from a mental illness at least once in their lifetime [2]. 

The need for mental health support is thus at an all-time high. However, the average waiting time to see a psychologist in Denmark is around 16 weeks, and in many cases, patients easily wait up to 20 weeks before their first treatment [3]. 

New studies have found that every 10th person needing psychological support in Denmark decides not to seek help due to the long waiting lists. Amongst young people, this number is even higher: In the last three years, every 5th young person who needed psychological treatment decided not to seek help due to long waiting times [4].

In the UK, waiting times for psychological help are almost equally as long as in Denmark. According to research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, almost a quarter (23%) of adults suffering from mental illness in the UK face waiting times of over 12 weeks before receiving treatment. Recently, it has thus been reported that individuals with mental illness waiting for treatment increasingly turn to the A&E or even dial 999 in desperate need of help [5].

Research has found waiting lists in mental health services to be “associated with negative psychological and physiological responses such as anxiety and stress”, which usually worsen the longer an individual suffering from mental illness needs to wait for treatment [6]. 

The lack of resources in mental health services is hence a problem that needs to be tackled urgently [2] – but it is unlikely that enough healthcare professionals can be hired in the short term to address this problem. 

This is where digital technologies can play an important role in supporting people waiting for mental health treatment. Digital health solutions for mental health, for instance, offer the potential to screen individuals while they are still on the waiting list. Additionally, digital health solutions can provide individuals with useful tools and psychoeducational material to better manage their mental health while they are waiting to receive care. 

Everyone deserves access to mental healthcare. The integration of digital solutions in healthcare bears huge potential, and it needs to happen timely. There is never a better time to act.
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About Monsenso
Monsenso is an innovative technology company offering a digital health solution used for decentralised trials, remote patient monitoring and treatment support. Our mission is to contribute to improved health for more people at lower costs by supporting treatment digitally and leveraging patient-reported outcomes data. Our solution helps optimise the treatment and gives a detailed overview of an individual’s health through the collection of outcome, adherence, and behavioural data. It connects individuals, carers, and health care providers to enable personalised treatment, remote care, and early intervention. We collaborate with health and social care, pharmaceuticals, and leading researcher worldwide in our endevaours to deliver solutions that fit into the life of patients and health care professionals. To learn more visit  www.monsenso.com.

References:
[1] EN AF OS (n.d.). About EN AF OS. Sundhedsstyrelsen.
http://www.en-af-os.dk/da/English/About-us#:~:text=Statistically%2C%201%20in%205%20Danes,they%20will%20get%20well%20again.

[2] Sundhedsstyrelsen (2022). Fagligt oplæg til en 10-årsplan.
https://www.sst.dk/da/Udgivelser/2022/Fagligt-oplaeg-til-en-10-aarsplan

[3] Kofoed et al. (2022). Millioner til psykologhjælp forbliver ubrugte trods rekordlange ventetider. DR.
https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/kommunalvalg/millioner-til-psykologhjaelp-forbliver-ubrugte-trods-rekordlange

[4] Gjensidige Forsikring (2022). Lang ventetid får mange til at droppe besøg hos læge, tandlæge og psykolog. Ritzau.
https://via.ritzau.dk/pressemeddelelse/lang-ventetid-far-mange-til-at-droppe-besog-hos-laege-tandlaege-og-psykolog?publisherId=9709319&releaseId=13657774

[5] Gregory, A. (2022). Patients turning to A&E as wait times for NHS mental health treatment spiral. The Guardian.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/oct/10/nhs-mental-health-patients-wait-times

[6] Punton, G., Dodd, A.L. & McNeill, A. (2022). ‘You’re on the waiting list’: An interpretive phenomenological analysis of young adults’ experiences of waiting lists within mental health services in the UK. PLoS ONE, 17(3).
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265542​​

The Momentum Trial: How digital tools can support patient-centered care & shared decision-making

The Momentum Trial: How digital tools can support patient-centered care & shared decision-making

In the delivery of mental health services, shared decision-making (SDM) is increasingly becoming more important [1]. SDM can be defined as a collaborative process between patient and health care provider, enabling joint treatment decisions and patient-centered care [2]. Research suggests that in mental healthcare, SDM could “contribute to recovery-oriented care by inviting the patient to have more control and be more involved in their treatment decisions” [2]. 

However, many mental health care providers are still reluctant to incorporate SDM into their treatment offers, as they believe it to be unfit for individuals suffering from severe mental illness, as well as to be time-consuming and thus a burden [3,4]. To overcome these challenges of incorporating SDM into daily practices, healthcare professionals have been encouraged to utilize “tools to support the SDM process” [2]. 

Increased focus has thus been placed on how digital interventions could support SDM in mental healthcare [2]. The Momentum Trial is a study investigating how using a smartphone app as a support tool could help “individuals suffering from schizophrenia-spectrum disorders in an outpatient treatment setting” [5]. 

During the trial, 194 participants were randomized either to receive “specialized early intervention treatment with the Momentum app” (intervention group) or to receive regular treatment without a smartphone app (control group) [5]. The Monsenso digital health solution, consisting of a patient app and a clinical web portal, was used for the intervention group. The Monsenso solution provided tools such as psychoeducational material, daily self-assessments, and action plans in the patient app, as well as patient insights in the clinical web portal [2].

As a primary outcome, it was investigated whether the individuals from the two groups would show a difference in self-perceived patient activation. Patient activation can play an important role in successful SDM processes, as patients who are more active and engaged in their treatment “feel confident when collaborating with their provider, and have the knowledge and skills to manage their condition” [2]. 

As secondary outcomes, it was investigated whether the individuals from the two different groups would show a difference in the self-perceived feeling of hope and optimism, self-efficacy, confidence in communicating with their provider, therapeutic alliance between the patient and provider, feeling prepared to make a treatment decision, and satisfaction with treatment [2]. 

Results were evaluated at baseline, as well as 3 and 6 months post-baseline. Promisingly, the Momentum Trial showed a significant effect of a digital SDM tool on the subjective level of patient activation, confidence in communicating with one’s provider, and feeling prepared for decision-making at the postintervention time point [2]. 

Though no statistically significant effects could be found related to the digital SDM intervention’s effect on working alliance, treatment satisfaction, clinical outcomes, and hope, the results from the Momentum Trial “confirm [the] hypothesis that a digital SDM tool may promote patient activation by supporting the collaborative process between patients and their providers” [2]

Monsenso CEO Thomas Lethenborg says: “The Momentum Trial shows how promising digital tools are in supporting shared decision-making. At Monsenso, we are proud to have been involved in this research project, and look forward to empowering individuals and clinicians even more on the treatment pathway”.
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About Monsenso
Monsenso is an innovative technology company offering a digital health solution used for decentralised trials, remote patient monitoring and treatment support. Our mission is to contribute to improved health for more people at lower costs by supporting treatment digitally and leveraging patient-reported outcomes data. Our solution helps optimise the treatment and gives a detailed overview of an individual’s health through the collection of outcome, adherence, and behavioural data. It connects individuals, carers, and health care providers to enable personalised treatment, remote care, and early intervention. We collaborate with health and social care, pharmaceuticals, and leading researcher worldwide in our endevaours to deliver solutions that fit into the life of patients and health care professionals. To learn more visit  www.monsenso.com

References:
[1] Alguera-Lara, V., Dowsey, M., Ride, J., Kinder, S. & Castle, D. (2017). Shared decision making in mental health: the importance for current clinical practice. Australas Psychiatry, 25(6), 578-582. 

[2] Vitger, T., Hjorthøj, C., Austin, S.F., Petersen, L., Tønder, E.S., Nordentoft, M. & Korsbek, L. (2022). A Smartphone App to Promote Patient Activation and Support Shared Decision-making in People With a Diagnosis of Schizophrenia in Outpatient Treatment Settings (Momentum Trial): Randomized Controlled Assessor-Blinded Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(10), e40292.
https://www.jmir.org/2022/10/e40292

[3] Hamann, J. & Heres, S. (2014). Adapting shared decision making for individuals with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 65(12), 1483-1486.
https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201400307

[4] Waldemar, A.K., Esbensen, B.A., Korsbek, L., Petersen, L. & Arnfred, S (2019). Recovery-oriented practice: participant observations of the interactions between patients and health professionals in mental health inpatient settings. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28(1), 318-329. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/inm.12537

[5] Korsbek, L. (n.d.). The Momentum Trial: The efficacy of using a smartphone application to support shared decision making for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia in an outpatient treatment setting. Open Patient data Explorative Network.
https://open.rsyd.dk/OpenProjects/openProject.jsp?openNo=451&lang=da

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DIPNOT: A Research Project to Improve Psychotherapeutic Treatment for People with Depression

DIPNOT: A Research Project to Improve Psychotherapeutic Treatment for People with Depression

Monsenso is proud to be part of the Development of an Intervention for Persistent Not On Track (DIPNOT) research project that aims to improve psychotherapeutic treatment offered to people with depression in psychiatry.

Though often said to be one of the “happiest countries on earth”, depression is no rare illness in Denmark. Did you know, that approximately 15-25% of all females and 7-12% of all males living in Denmark experience depression at least once in their life? [1].

After diagnosis, patients with depression are often offered group-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in outpatient psychiatry in Denmark [2]. However, around 50% of depressed patients participating in group-based CBT do not actually feel their symptoms improving, or even worsening during the therapy [2].

The DIPNOT research project, which was started in 2021 and continues until 2024, hence aims to design an intervention for patients with depression who are not improving during the course of their therapy. The idea is to monitor patients and the progression of their symptoms via a digital health application (e.g., using clinical questionnaires) and identify the patients who are not doing well during the therapy [2].

The Monsenso digital health solution is currently being used for this purpose in the DIPNOT project conducted by ph.d. student Jasmin Rejaye Gryesten. It facilitates the identification of worsening depressive symptoms and offers various possibilities for clinicians to provide their patients with digital tools that can help their recoveries – such as exercises and psychoeducational content.

At Monsenso, we are proud to be part of this exciting journey toward offering better mental health to more people by being able to cater to patients’ needs more individually.

If you want to learn more about the DIPNOT project, watch this video!
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About Monsenso
Monsenso is an innovative technology company offering a digital health solution used for decentralised trials, remote patient monitoring and treatment support. Our mission is to contribute to improved health for more people at lower costs by supporting treatment digitally and leveraging patient-reported outcomes data. Our solution helps optimise the treatment and gives a detailed overview of an individual’s health through the collection of outcome, adherence and behavioural data. It connects individuals, carers and health care providers to enable personalised treatment, remote care and early intervention. We collaborate with health and social care, pharmaceuticals and leading researcher worldwide in our endevaours to deliver solutions that fit into the life of patients and health care professionals. To learn more visit  www.monsenso.com

References:
[1] Kessing, L.V. (2021). ​​Depression, forekomst. Sundhed.dk.
https://www.sundhed.dk/borger/patienthaandbogen/psyke/sygdomme/depression/depression-forekomst/

[2] DIPNOT (n.d.). Development of an Intervention for Persistent Not On Track.
https://www.dipnot.dk

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World Mental Health Day 2022

World Mental Health Day 2022

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, aiming at shining light on the prevalence of mental ill health globally and the need to “strengthen mental health care so that the full spectrum of mental health needs is met” [1].

How common are mental illnesses?
970 million individuals worldwide, or 1 in every 8 people, had a mental illness in 2019 [2]. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers have been even more on the rise during the past two years [1]. Anxiety and depression disorders, for example, are estimated to have increased by more than 25% among the global population during the first year of the pandemic [1].

Economic costs of mental disorders
Statistics show that in 2010, mental diseases cost the global economy US$2.5 trillion in direct and indirect costs, and mental and drug use disorders made up 10.4% of the total global illness burden [3]. By 2030, it is anticipated that the direct and indirect costs of mental illnesses will have doubled – without taking into account expenses related to mental problems that originate outside of the healthcare system, such as legal expenses brought on by the consumption of illegal drugs [3].

Stigmatization of ill mental health
More than half of those suffering from mental illness do not obtain treatment. People often put off or postpone getting therapy out of fear of being treated “differently or […] losing their jobs and livelihood” [4]. This is due to the fact that stigma, discrimination, and prejudice toward those who have mental illnesses are still major issues in today’s global society.
Often, experiencing external stigmatization can lead to greater self-stigma for individuals, which was linked to worse recovery from mental illness in scientific studies [4].

The growing treatment gap
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a global mental health crisis, causing millions of people to experience short- and long-term stress and jeopardizing their mental health. During COVID-19, the gap in treatment for mental health disorders has expanded significantly, while mental health services have been severely disrupted at the same time [1]. Resources in mental health services are thus limited and often not sufficient to meet the treatment needs for poor mental health [5].

What needs to change?
Mental disorders are more common than one might think, and prejudices surrounding poor mental health unfortunately only further increase the burden of the diseases on people suffering from them. It is therefore important to raise awareness about mental health problems, destigmatize mental illness, and help to ensure that individuals struggling with their mental health are not facing discrimination.
Given the high economic costs of mental disorders, it is also important to continuously work on improving the treatment support provided. Especially with lacking resources in mental health services and a growing treatment gap, this includes seeking new ways to help individuals suffering from mental health conditions.

How digital solutions for mental health can help
The use of digital platforms for remote patient monitoring and health assessment, as well as real-time patient analytics, could enable personalised treatment and improved quality of care [6]. Digital solutions for mental health could therefore offer the potential to empower and engage individuals with mental disorders to better manage their mental health, facilitating treatment for clinical professionals and empowering family caregivers to help drive down economic costs and increase productivity.
At Monsenso, we have worked with a variety of mental health disorders in both research and clinical settings. Our digital mental health solution has helped many individuals struggling with their mental health to better understand their conditions and live a more independent life, as well as helped clinicians to better support their patients. We are proud to support the World Mental Health Day and will continue to spread knowledge about mental health conditions and offer our support to individuals affected and clinicians providing treatment for mental illness.

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About Monsenso
Monsenso is a digital health company that enables better outcomes for patients and clinicians through data-driven decisions. We are focused on mental health and user-centred in designing our solutions for patients and clinicians. Our cloud-based platform is a CE-marked medical device (Class 1, pending Class 2a and MDR certification) that is HIPAA compliant, with certifications in ISO 13485, ISO 27001, Cyber Essentials and TGA. Our solution has been clinically and scientifically validated by over 70+ peer-reviewed studies and can be configured for applications across mental health conditions. We work with healthcare systems, life sciences and research organisations globally. Book a demo to learn more.

References:
[1] World Health Organization (n.d.). World Mental Health Day 2022.
https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2022

[2] World Health Organization (2022). Mental disorders.
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders

[3] Trautmann, S., Rehm, J. & Wittchen, H. (2016).  The economic costs of mental disorders. EMBO reports 17(9).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5007565/

[4] American Psychiatric Association (n.d.). Stigma, Prejudice and Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness.
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination#:~:text=Public%20stigma%20involves%20the%20negative,have%20about%20their%20own%20condition.

[5] Saraceno, B. (2004). Mental health: scarce resources need new paradigms. World Psychiatry 3(1): 3–5.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414651/

[6] Elsevier Health (2022). Clinician of the Future Report 2022.
https://www.elsevier.com/connect/clinician-of-the-future