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Aimentia: the mental health platform providing a psychological crutch throughout the pandemic

  Photo: Roman Kraft / Unsplash

Photo: Roman Kraft / Unsplash

The platform was made available to healthcare workers during the state of emergency, offering them free, 24-hour psychological support

Aimentia has managed to integrate data on emerging mental health symptoms related to COVID-19 into its artificial intelligence flow

Aimentia has been selected as a finalist project for SpinUOC 2020, the UOC's annual entrepreneurship programme promoted by Hubbik

An accurate diagnosis is crucial in the field of mental health, but they are not always performed correctly. Traditional tests such as bloods or X-rays are fruitless and many specialists are still using questionnaires that may not reflect clinical data to assess their patients.

Aimentia's co-founder, Edgar Jorba, said: "For example, during the COVID-19 crisis and isolation period, patients have been reporting new symptoms that aren't covered in manuals or guidelines."

The Aimentia project proposes e-health solutions for mental health conditions and is led by Jorba, a student on the Bachelor's Degree in Telecommunications Technologies and Services Engineering at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). 

The researcher stressed the following: "If our healthcare professionals don't have access to modern and smart tools that bolster their knowledge and lighten their workload, giving them time to focus on more pressing matters, we're bound to continue providing poor diagnoses."

The platform was made available to healthcare workers during the state of emergency in Spain, with a view to providing free, 24-hour psychological support. As regards the emerging mental health symptoms related to COVID-19, Aimentia has been able to integrate them into its artificial intelligence flow. Thanks to this, the tool can already provide primary diagnostic suggestions, comparing a patient's data with other anonymous data and detecting potential risk factors.

In comparison to other telemedicine devices, which only collect data or focus on digitizing communication or statistical analysis, this platform has a more integral approach, taking stock of the data gathered both during consultations and remotely. Jorba said: "It can be used by both professionals and patients throughout the entire process."


A personalized online clinic

Aimentia is grounded in the idea of offering professionals and patients an online clinic with digital tools and smart modules. All activities are carried out in one system and are then translated into data to feed the algorithms. The engineers have developed a programming language to help them operate according to these variables.

Instead of basing the patient's treatment on their disorder or mental illness 'label', the tool uses symptomatology to provide a greater degree of objectivity on the situation and detect real-time changes in the population or in disorders.

Jorba highlighted: "Patients can access the platform 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any device with an internet connection, carry out the activities prescribed by their doctor and record their own episodes or comments."

As such, professionals will gain more information about each stage of the process, making their decisions even more accurate. What's more, the counselling and modules are automatically personalized and supervised by specialists in order to administer one-to-one care with a greater probability of success.


Collaboration with professionals and patients

Aimentia is designed for the field of mental health in the greatest sense of the term. Its creators have started with some specific conditions, such as anxiety or depression, panic attacks, phobias and addictions, given their prevalence among current and previous patients. They have also started to design modules for personality disorders and nervous system injuries.

The platform will be updated every two weeks and professionals can make suggestions and participate in its development and validation process. Patient associations are also helping out with the design by assessing how users access and interact with the platform.

"The beauty of an online clinic is that doctors can offer partially or completely online counselling sessions," said Jorba, a huge advantage for patients that have little time to spare or who cannot commit to attending regular face-to-face appointments.


Fully operational during the state of emergency

Aimentia has been selected as a finalist for SpinUOC 2020, the UOC's annual entrepreneurship programme promoted by Hubbik; the winner is to be announced on 1 October. The tool is already in operation throughout Spain, meaning it's available for professionals to sign up and access the service. Anyone who participates in the design, development and validation process of updating Aimentia will receive bonuses and discounts.

The service will even be available to non-profit organizations. Jorba said: "Just as we offered free care to front-line healthcare workers during the state of emergency, we're not going to deny help to any mental health workers who need our tool to carry out emergency care, or to NGOs or other such organizations."

The team is involved in discussions with pharmaceutical and insurance companies in the sector to help them adapt the tool to their needs too. "We want to strengthen our relationship with research centres and hospitals. Clinics and hospitals alike can request access to the platform and receive a specific plan with different sessions for their teams, or other kinds of support," the expert concluded.