Thalamos case study
Web application Thalamos is helping mental health professionals to deliver the best possible care to their patients by digitising the Mental Health Act.
The software is the vision of start-up company Thalamos and has been developed in partnership with Mindwave to streamline the paperwork involved in detaining patients under the Mental Health Act (MHA) by enabling clinicians to complete MHA paperwork digitally, anywhere, on any device.
Thalamos was formed in 2019 by cousins Arden and Ross Tomison. With psychiatrists in the family they already had an appreciation of the challenges clinicians can face in mental health care, but when two of their friends were sectioned under the Mental Health Act, Arden and Ross realised the impact of this often confusing and convoluted piece of legislation.
There is a large amount of administration involved in detaining someone under the Mental Health Act, as three different professionals usually have to agree that detention is needed. The majority of the paperwork is done on statutory paper forms and siloed in different places. This presents challenges, as joined-up communication between independent doctors, NHS Trusts and Council AMHPs (Approved Mental Health Professionals) can be very difficult to achieve.
Using paper forms also creates risks in terms of potential errors being made when the paperwork is filled in. Detention of a patient could be deemed unlawful if information has been entered incorrectly or in the wrong box, and could result in a tribunal or court case if the Human Rights Act has been breached.
Thalamos wanted to ensure that patients receive the best possible care by eliminating these risks, and making it easier for mental health professionals from all agencies to communicate.
An in-depth understanding of the issue and their ability to articulate it to others enabled Ross and Arden to quickly secure the seed investment needed to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). So that they could move quickly and keep costs down, the team were looking for a technology partner who could support them in getting an MVP to market.
Initially Thalamos engaged with Mindwave on a discovery and focus group project so the two teams could get to know each other and decide whether to take the partnership forward. Once it was clear that Mindwave’s experience as a specialist digital health company provided an advantage over other tech partners, work began to develop the web application.
Using the simple application, which conforms to all NHS standards, mental health professionals can now work digitally on any device to complete all the necessary forms. The risk of missing out or incorrectly entering a piece of information is removed thanks to the checks the software carries out; the user cannot progress if an issue is detected, so organisations can be confident in the accuracy of their administrative files.
In July 2019, Thalamos was launched at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in London. The interest from NHS Trusts was immediate; in the first two days of the conference the team secured demonstrations with medical directors from four NHS Trusts.
Mindwave were on hand to help through those early conversations, supporting Thalamos in navigating the complexities of the NHS, as well as providing back up and assurance around clinical safety and information governance.
Launched at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in July 2019, Thalamos’ first customer was the CQC and through that collaboration, 75% of NHS Trusts and Private Providers have now received their statutory MHA forms.
Feedback from those using Thalamos has been extremely positive across all user age groups, despite the huge culture shift involved for older health professionals more used to completing all administration purely using paper forms.
“They are in it for the right reasons, have a brilliant design team, and understand that sometimes finances lead to compromise.”