Dr. Charlotte Lee-Sinclair

Head of Commercial

Jun 28, 2023

What to look for when choosing an AI triage tool for NHS Talking Therapies

A road leading to mountains

Chatbot-based triage tools can be an effective and simple bolt-on to your website that can lower the barrier to accessing services, improve the quality of triage and deliver an engaging patient experience. In a world where mental health is still highly stigmatised, this could massively improve accessibility and get more people into therapy.

However, the market is huge and there are plenty of options: from standard rules-based customer service chatbots to highly specialised tools built just for the NHS. We've reflected on three years of experience integrating with over a quarter of NHS Talking Therapies, and we've condensed what to look out for in this 5 step guide.

Be clear on what problem you want to solve 

Being clear on what you'd like the outcomes to be is essential before you start looking at providers, especially as benefits go well beyond pure information gathering. We've identified four key benefit areas for NHS Talking Therapies:

  1. Increasing access and lowering the barrier to underserved populations

  2. Improving the quality of triage with better information and engagement

  3. Contributing to operational efficiencies by stratifying cases

  4. Improving patient experience

Look for evidence of real world usage and impact

It takes work to adopt a digital solution as it needs to integrate into your clinical systems, follow your desired triage process, and be engaging enough to reduce friction in the patient experience. Find solutions implemented in a similar clinical setting to yours and look for real-world evidence, extensive population studies and publications that demonstrate objectively that this tool will support access, capacity and the patient experience.

Choose interoperability and configurability

No two services will use the same systems, so opt for highly configurable and interoperable software that can show you in real-time what a typical patient case looks like as the information travels from chatbot to patient management system.

Ask about appropriate regulation and data security standards

Some chatbots make clinical decisions that inform a patient's management plan, and it's mandatory that they are regulated as medical devices. Limbic is the only Class IIa medical device permitted by regulation to make clinical decisions and support diagnosis - with 93% accuracy.

Get help with change management and implementation support

Not all software providers will provide the necessary change management required to help you get the best out of them. The result? Low uptake, low engagement, and poor results. Newer providers now offer change management support as part of the package to add capacity to your teams as you establish new working methods.

Remembering that every service is different, with different processes, triage flows, and patients is key. Find the best solution for you, and select a partner willing to work to understand your unique needs and service. 

For many, that partner is Limbic - an HSJ award-winning company whose mission is to ensure the highest quality therapy is accessible to everyone, everywhere. Our thesis is that we can build safe, regulated, robust AI tools that augment the patient-clinician relationship and drive better patient outcomes. Since 2020 we've been working with NHS Talking Therapies to identify discrete use cases for highly developed and clinically validated AI to improve service efficiency and drive better patient outcomes.

You can find out more about Limbic on our website where you can download our evidence, demo our products and book a call with our sales team.