Strategic hires to drive forward technology and efficiency at Ieso Digital Health
Heavyweight hires at digitally-enabled mental health therapy company Ieso Digital Health are positioning the firm for rapid growth as it rolls out a global commercial programme.
Ieso provides online talking therapy through internet-enabled cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and written conversation. Its novel combination of state-of-the-art, evidence-based clinical methods and breakthrough technology delivers a unique form of treatment for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Latest statistics show that the Ieso method, previously validated in a randomised controlled trial, is delivering outcomes better than most other providers. Latest data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) showing leso’s patients experience a 48.1% recovery rate compared to an average of 44.01% for all NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services. This is in spite of Ieso having a more complex caseload than many other mental health services.
Cambridge Cognition non-executive board member Dr Andy Blackwell and ex-Altrix Healthcare CEO Julian Coe have joined Ieso as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and combined Chief Operating Officer (COO)/Chief Financial Officer (CFO) respectively.
The company is currently going through an investment round to fund its ambitious growth plans, initially focused around further technological development, expansion in the UK and entry into the US market. The new appointments will strengthen the executive team as it drives forward this vision.
Using data to improve treatment for patients is central to Ieso’s mission. It is developing algorithmic techniques that will enable therapists to better predict the likelihood that a patient will respond to a particular form of psychological therapy – improving efficiency and clinical outcomes for patients and reducing costs to the healthcare system.
Ieso Digital Health is already commissioned by 26 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England, where its service is available free to patients who can access it from any internet-enabled device at a time and location of their convenience. In other areas, a paid-for version of its service, Thinkwell, is available.
Dr Blackwell (40) gained his doctorate in psychology from the University of St Andrews before working as a medical research scientist in world-leading laboratories in the departments of psychiatry and experimental psychology at the University of Cambridge.
In 2006 he became Chief Scientific Officer of Cambridge Cognition, a psychology and technology-focused business, and a year later joined the company board. He was part of the team that developed the commercial strategy that built the company up to a successful public listing on the AIM market in 2013.
At Ieso Digital Health Dr Blackwell’s principle role will be to develop and implement a global science and technology strategy to complement the commercial vision of the company.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Blackwell said:
“Ieso only uses the best evidence-based, clinically-validated therapeutic methods. Using cutting-edge technologies our systems will learn to predict which type of treatment will deliver the best outcomes for a particular patient. Our aim is to use technology and data to improve quality, reduce cost and therefore improve access to the best possible treatment for mental health conditions.
“It’s wonderful to be joining a company with such an incredible pool of talent. In terms of the science I know it is genuinely delivering excellent, positive outcomes for patients. That is incredibly exciting, because it means that the company has the potential to treat to recovery millions of people in the next few years.”
Explaining the science and technology programme, Dr Blackwell added:
“The difference between Ieso and lots of other competitors treating mental health is that it’s continuously clinically validated and quality-controlled. We will use digital technology to improve clinical outcomes, quality of life and the efficiency and economics of the healthcare system.”
As joint Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Julian Coe will put in place the infrastructure for the company to scale and grow, looking at back office systems and processes and how the firm is organised financially and operationally to ensure maximum efficiency.
Mr Coe trained as a chartered accountant and has had a variety of financial and operational roles, primarily in life sciences companies.
From 2000-2007 he was first Financial Director and latterly Chief Executive of Altrix Healthcare plc which developed a range of innovative solutions for the public sector using an oral fluid diagnostic test for detecting substance misuse. Altrix was one of the first commercial organisations to win contracts from NHS pathology labs.
Mr Coe said his experience would help Ieso to build successful partnerships with healthcare organisations to improve care. He said:
“What I really like about Ieso Digital Health is that we are providing clinicians and therapists with the tools they need to improve access to their services and the outcomes for their patients. We have the ability to substantially improve mental health treatment globally and through our data and expertise in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to become world leaders in its provision.”
Commenting on the new appointments, Ieso Digital Health CEO Barnaby Perks said:
“Ieso Digital Health is delighted to be welcoming Dr Andy Blackwell and Julian Coe into our team.
“Both of them bring a wealth of experience to the company that will be vital as we continue to build our brand and presence both in the UK and overseas.
“Andy’s background in psychology and his involvement with the successful IPO of another company means he not only understands our therapy methods but also what is needed strategically to make firms successful.
“Meanwhile, Julian through his work with Altrix was one of the pioneers of commercial partnership with the NHS. Time and again in his career he has demonstrated his financial acumen and ability to hone organisations as they prepare for rapid scale-up.”
PHOTOGRAPH: (From left to right) Andy Blackwell, Barnaby Perks and Julian Coe
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