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2020 will be the year of real world evidence

2020 will be the year of real world evidence

Ieso Digital Health, a leader in internet-enabled cognitive behavioural therapy (ie-CBT) and an innovator in digital therapeutics through its programme Eight Billion Minds, has predicted two big trends in digital healthcare for 2020. Emerging from developments in artificial intelligence and access to large scale real world data, Ieso explains why these trends could be game changers for the healthcare industry not just this year but over the next decade.

1. 2020 will be the year of real world evidence – using deep learning to decode therapy

Over the past decade, the way the healthcare industry uses and analyses data has changed dramatically with the development of new techniques in areas of artificial intelligence (AI). For the first time, data scientists are now applying deep learning and natural language processing to large pools of data to extract clinical insights from real world healthcare delivery in a way that could fundamentally change our understanding of how treatments work. This is particularly relevant for Ieso, who has over 200,000 hours of real world data from its ie-CBT platform, ThinkWell.

In 2017, The Economist stated that data was the world’s most valuable resource, but this year it is how that data is mined and analysed that will unlock its real value. Ieso has already begun doing this, under its Eight Billion Minds programme, to decode what works and doesn’t work in mental health therapy. By harnessing the power of deep learning and applying it to patient data, what is uncovered will change the dynamics of digital mental healthcare.

As the use of real world data grows, so does the ethical responsibility of those accessing and using it. Through the active participation and consent of patients and clinicians, Ieso scientists are studying patient characteristics, interventions and dialogue to build a clearer picture on clinical outcomes.

This is the new era of data-driven healthcare where we can yield unprecedented levels of insight into what really matters in treatment, using real world data to provide real world evidence. We are now learning at a scale and pace that was never possible before,” said Valentin Tablan, SVP of AI at Ieso Digital Health. “This helps us form a much better picture of the effectiveness of treatments across multiple dimensions of patient and disease characteristics and, will not only bridge the gap between clinical claims and real world evidence, but drive the enhancement of effective treatments in mental health therapy.


Ieso Digital Health’s Group Chief Science and Strategy Officer, Andy Blackwell, Ph.D. is speaking on the topic of decoding therapy, at TEDxNatick, in Boston, on 25th January 2020. Dr Blackwell’s talk is focused on harnessing the power of deep learning and natural language processing, and applying it to real world data in order to personalize and improve mental health treatment. In 2019, Andy was instrumental in the launch of the Eight Billion Minds programme.

2. Digital healthcare apps will focus on personalisation and engagement. The era of ‘one size fits all’ treatments will come to an end.

While more people than ever are downloading apps in today’s device-driven world, many fail to open these apps more than a few times. A number of “mental health” apps focus on delivering ‘one size fits all’ wellness programmes, which often neglect the core elements of human delivered care that drive engagement.

Ieso believes that deep learning and other computational approaches, will not only revolutionize traditional treatments but will see new and improved digital apps and services brought to market. Within the early part of the decade, never seen before personalised and scalable digital mental healthcare services will become available, that are trained to emulate the very best in human clinical practice and are personalised to meet the needs of each individual.

Ieso stresses that these treatments should be developed in partnership with patients and clinicians in a way that recognises the differences between each individual’s experience of mental illness, and then validated on real world populations in addition to traditional tightly-controlled clinical trials.

While treatments today have their efficacy determined in clinical trials, that only provides insight into how the treatment performs in a specific population that does not always translate into effectiveness for the wider population,” continued Valentin Tablan. “Effectiveness can only be ensured by real world data gathered and analysed over many years, from thousands of patients, within the realistic setting of a clinical service, which is what we do at Ieso. While individuals may download apps, they soon realize these do not offer the help they require and so stop engaging with these digital tools. Personalisation driven by data and better understanding of clinical outcomes could change this interaction pattern.

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