A chatbot helped more people access mental-health services

The chatbot's creators, from AI company Limbic, decided to explore whether AI could reduce barriers to care by helping patients access help more quickly and efficiently.

A new study, published today in Natural medicineevaluated the effect of the chatbot, called Limbic Access, on referrals to the NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression programme, a series of evidence-based psychological therapies for adults with anxiety disorders, depression or both.

It looked at data from 129,400 people visiting websites to refer to 28 different NHS Talking Therapies services across England, half of whom used the chatbot on their website and the other half used other methods data collection such as web forms. The number of referrals from services using the Limbic chatbot increased by 15% over the three-month study period, compared to a 6% increase in referrals for services that did not use it.

Referrals among minority groups, including ethnic and sexual minorities, increased significantly when the chatbot was available: increasing 179% among those identified as non-binary, 39% for Asian patients, and 40% for non-binary patients. black.

Importantly, the report's authors said the higher number of patients referred for help from services did not increase waiting times or lead to a reduction in the number of clinical assessments carried out. Indeed, the detailed information collected by the chatbot reduced the time human clinicians had to spend assessing patients, while improving the quality of assessments and freeing up other resources.

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