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Microsoft, Silvercloud to “pioneer” AI in mental health

SilverCloud Health and Microsoft have embarked on a research collaboration to further enhance the digital mental health company’s online offering with artificial intelligence (AI).

SilverCloud announced that the companies’ labs in Cambridge have been working together over the past 18 months, in research that combines Microsoft’s cutting-edge machine learning and AI technologies with SilverCloud’s expertise in real-world delivery of evidence-based interventions and mental health outcomes.

The collaboration will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to “accelerate the understanding and delivery of personalised mental healthcare that responds to each patient’s unique situation,” including early interventions to optimise clinical outcomes, thereby ensuring patients have access to the right support and content at the right time and in the right context.

“SilverCloud Health is one of the very few digital mental health platforms that has been deployed at scale in routine clinical care, and currently has the largest real-world patient user base of its kind,” said Christopher Bishop, lab director, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK.

He continued to say that the aim of the project is “very much aligned to our ambition to empower healthcare workers and patients through access to effective, intelligent technologies.”

SilverCloud’s digital mental health platform is used across 75% of NHS mental health services in IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) and over 250 organisations globally.

With over one million hours of therapy delivered since spinning out from research in 2012, the breadth of the platform’s data provides a “unique opportunity” for the deep research collaboration, and will help to change how online therapy is delivered for the NHS.