E-health therapies attract national accolades

Leeds University spinout company Media Innovations leading the way in new therapies for eating disorders bulimia and anorexia nervosa. In the last month, the company’s unique CD-Rom packages have won a prestigious award, been short listed for a further award and received a grant from the Medical Research Council to widen the delivery of the packages further.

The company’s Overcoming Bulimia self-help CD ROM package has been short listed from over 70 entries for the E-Health Innovation Awards. The awards are the result of a partnership between E-Health Insider and Intellect, the leading trade body for the UK’s IT, telecommunications and electronics industry and highlight the use of innovative ICT solutions in the UK healthcare sector.

Overcoming Bulimia is a self help tool based on cognitive behavioural therapy, authored by former University of Leeds academic (now based at University of Glasgow) and psychiatrist, Dr Chris Williams in collaboration with eating disorder experts Dr Ulrike Schmidt from the Institute of Psychiatry and Professor Janet Treasure of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Media Innovations has been short listed for the “Best use of e-health to deliver integrated care”. The category seeks to reward the entrant that can demonstrate the positive effect of technology in integrated care. The awards will take place on 21 April 2005 at an awards ceremony to be held at the Congress Centre in London.

The news of Overcoming Bulimia’s short listing for the E-Health Innovation Awards follows the recent award of £191,000 from the Medical Research Council to enable the team to study the feasibility and preliminary outcomes of an on-line version of the CD ROM, specifically aimed at adolescents and young people.

Bulimia Nervosa is a common and disabling condition, affecting 4-7% of young women in the UK. It has significant personal, social and relationship costs for both the sufferer and those around them. Bulimia typically begins to develop in adolescence, and young people between the ages of 13 and 20 now form the largest proportion of people with the condition being seen by GPs. The on-line delivery of Overcoming Bulimia will widen accessibility of cognitive behavioural therapy within this group, which often finds it difficult to access appropriate treatment.

Media Innovations also has a new product in the pipeline that is already attracting attention from the NHS. The planned Overcoming Anorexia CD ROM, which is to be aimed at carers of those with anorexia nervosa, has won the London NHS Innovation Award for Innovative Service. The team behind the entry, which includes Dr Ulrike Schmidt, has been awarded £5,000 to progress and implement the product. As a regional winner of an Innovation Award, Overcoming Anorexia will be entered into the national Innovations Awards, which will be presented at the NHS Innovations IP Conference later this month.

Stephen Taylor-Parker, managing director of Media Innovations says: “Overcoming Bulimia is a highly structured intervention which provides sufferers with information and practical strategies on how to cope with their condition. It has been extremely successful in clinical trials and many users of the package have commented that they appreciate the anonymity that using a computer offers. People often feel they are able to be more honest with a computer than perhaps they would be in individual or group therapy, so they are deriving as much benefit as possible from the self help tools."

He adds: "The package is intended to be used under therapeutic supervision but provides the sufferer with practical tasks to help their progress to recovery. The recognition we’re receiving for all our CBT CD ROM packages is a testament to how well they are working in practice.”


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
Outlook towards Monkeypox vaccination in healthcare workers of France and Belgium