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Leicestershire Health Informatics Service has built an app that provides information on electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in a bid to educate and reduce stigma attached to mental illness.
The free app was developed on a platform called mDesign in collaboration with mobile technology company CommonTime.
ECT, which has been around for more than 75 years, is often surrounded by negative perceptions. The app aims to dispel the myths surrounding ECT by providing information from the trust’s ECT centre of excellence, patient stories and videos featuring clinicians and patients.
Girish Kunigiri, consultant psychiatrist at the trust, said he believes the app is the first of its kind and will help educate patients and clinicians and break stigma in mental health.
“Electro-convulsive therapy can be life-saving for patients suffering from severe psychiatric conditions. But despite high success rates in helping patients, stigma still exists,” he said.
“For patients and their families, the app describes the whole ECT procedure, from preparation to recovery, allowing people to make informed decisions in the consent process. GPs, support workers and other non-psychiatry specialists too can better understand what this life-saving treatment really means for patients.”
The app gives detailed guidance on modern procedures and also allows users to access specialist advice and key contact information.
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It has been developed by clinicians and technologists, in partnership with patients. Sarah Ost, service delivery manager at the informatics service, said the project “signals a very important move in the way the NHS develops IT capabilities”.
“Anyone can download the ECT app, but we also now look forward to helping other trusts across the country tailor this application, and others, to spread benefits to many more patients and professionals as quickly as possible,” she said.