The University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry approached Global Initiative to build an app to deliver cognitive behaviour therapy for people with eating disorders. It is a “transdiagnostic” treatment for all forms of eating disorder including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other similar states. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the project incorporated a public-facing treatment app, a research tool and a website.
The leading evidence-based treatment for adults with an eating disorder is a specific form of cognitive behaviour therapy. This is a one-to-one treatment that focuses on the characteristic disturbances in eating habits and attitudes to shape and weight. It was developed by Professor Christopher Fairburn as a treatment for bulimia nervosa and in this form it has been the subject of numerous clinical trials. It was the first psychological treatment (for any mental disorder) to be strongly endorsed by UK’s independent and highly regarded National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
To maximise the availability of this methodology requires the training of more therapists and the scalability of its delivery. Both are realised through the development of this programme of software tools.
Being a treatment platform as well as a research tool, digital security including end-to-end encryption was paramount, whilst expressing intuitive and reliable User Experience Design.