Interview Series: Byron George, CEO, PCMIS

In our latest interview we spoke with Byron George from PCMIS, a health technology company that develops an enterprise case management solution.

Could you tell me a bit about yourself and your organisation?

I’m CEO of PCMIS, I’ve got over 20 years’ experience providing large scale digital health solutions and innovative case management systems across a broad range of organisations. I am a chartered IT professional and have been working very closely with the NHS, health care research and academia for about 20 years also.

Our organisation is in a unique position as we are able to combine cutting edge research and innovation into digital health initiatives. We are able to translate the evidence based research that universities undertake into real world impact that can change people’s lives.

It is nice to know the work we do is counting towards making a difference to people, to be able to take something that has started in research and academia then implement it widely. Many universities do not have the capability to translate innovation into impact and that’s where we can help. 

Could you tell me about some projects that you’ve been working on over the past 12 months?

Outcome Feedback is one exciting project, with funding from Centre for Future Health and Wellcome Trust; as part of their initiative to support new projects which address important healthcare issues and challenges. We received funding to develop an online training platform for our ‘Expected Treatment Response’ technology known as Outcome Feedback. This is world leading and is something that is going to make a significant difference to the lives of those who are experiencing mental health problems.

Our technology has been proven to reduce deterioration in complex depression and anxiety cases by 73%, for any patient receiving talking therapy treatment, it will be a significantly impactful and positive experience. Outcome Feedback can also reduce NHS IAPT wait times and service costs through achieving outcomes in less sessions.

There have been two research trials in NHS IAPT services, the original pilot was able to reduce costs by 25% and we are currently evaluating the data from a large scale follow up trial, to fully ascertain the potential Health Economic benefits of this technology. It’s a great double positive really, it benefits patients but also the service providers.

How will that technology work?

It is a digital solution developed in partnership with leading academics who specialise in Mental Health research, to translate very complex algorithms into a clinician friendly tool built within the PCMIS electronic patient record system. It provides a real time indicator to inform clinicians when a patient is ‘off track’ in their treatment, with progress discussed collaboratively with clinical supervisors and patients, it can improve patient engagement, reduced deterioration by 73%, achieve an increase in outcomes, reduced wait times and treatment costs. The combination of sophisticated technology with evidence-based research that really makes a difference, that is something that we are very passionate about at PCMIS.

Is this technology being rolled out?

To support a roll out of Outcome Feedback technology we wanted to develop a training platform that was bite size, able to be implemented large scale, flexible and accessible for health care professionals to use whilst ensuring it was clinically sound and comprehensive.

In addition to the 8 NHS trusts that took part in the two research trials, Outcome Feedback is being rolled out for free nationally to our IAPT client base, giving them access to the technology and the online training to support the implementation and ongoing engagement.

A regional pilot and national trial have both been published, with the larger trial being picked up by Lancet Psychiatry and gaining a lot of traction as a result. We are just in the process now of completing the final checks on the online training platform ready for a national roll out, so we are hoping that October/November time it will be available for all of our services to take advantage of.

Longer term we are exploring ways to develop the technology outside of PCMIS as an API/plug in available to other clinical systems. The aim is to get as many IAPT services as possible using this technology and approach to treatment, to maximise the benefits for patients and services.

What do you have planned over the next 12 months?

Outcome Feedback has been designed very carefully to make sure services can have the autonomy to use the online training platform and technology without it being a burden on any of their resources or time and obviously importantly, on our time also. We continue to focus on developing and implementing healthcare solutions to support the needs of our client base and their patients.

What do you think are some of the key technology challenges at the moment?

Great question! We aim to have an agile position to embrace new technology whilst supporting the existing NHS infrastructure; we’ve got a really solid working relationship with NHS Digital and NHS England and welcome the fresh approach being taken by NHSX.

One of the things we have been actively involved in is investigating the NHS Trailblazer sites, a new national initiative to provide early intervention for children’s mental health services in partnership with schools and colleges.

Over the last 13 years, we’ve heavily supported both child and adult Talking Therapies and we see it as a natural next step that we support the expansion of children’s mental health services through the new Trailblazers scheme.