Centre for Health Services Studies

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More than a million people in the UK seek or receive treatment for depression at any given time. Finding the right treatment can be difficult and for many, can take weeks or months to work.

Professor Jenny Billings leads the evaluation of a digitally-enabled precision medicine approach to diagnosing and treating depression accurately and quickly. The two year project aims to reduce referrals to scarce secondary and crisis care services, freeing up GP time. ‘Wrapping’ care from GPs, specialist professionals and charities around the patient helps them return to healthy, productive lives.

Specially designed web-based App; ‘i-spero’ helps patients assess their response to treatment and monitor their depression. It uses validated questionnaires and assessments including facial expression recognition testing. Developed by Oxford-based P1vital Products Ltd, i-spero will be piloted at selected GP practices in Canterbury and Coastal CCG. An improved triage style patient pathway adopted alongside the technology, will give greater choice and quicker access to quality care.

Mental health charity MIND is supporting crucial patient involvement in this project.

Start date: 01/01/19 End date: 31/12/20

Funder: Innovate UK Funding: £201,599.



Read the Final Evaluation Report 30/11/20.


Read the Lay Summary Report


Read the Executive Summary Report

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Last Updated: 02/03/2021