Exploring the role of digital services to support the assessment and support of young people with ASD

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

Nationally, there is an overwhelming increase in demand for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment services in Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS). For a multitude of reasons, families are faced with extremely long waiting times for an assessment and subsequent support.

My project aims to identify how technology can play a role in addressing the bottlenecks in the assessment and support pathways in services, such as automation of processes, to enable better management of the data (e.g. waiting lists), as well as creating opportunities to utilise data intelligently, to inform rates of diagnosis (benchmarking against national data), and open the door for predictive analytics. It would also be important to explore technological solutions in delivering the different assessment phases, aiming to reduce both the resource required to complete each stage (e.g. the number of clinicians), and/or reducing the time for processing the information (i.e. report-writing).

I am a Clinical Psychologist who has worked for over 10 years in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. I have always championed the use of health technology in mental health services, with primary aims being: more evidence-based interventions, better clinical outcomes, more time for clinicians to offer care. Examples of such technology have been: introducing the use of computerised assessment software, and leading on the use of clinical outcome measuring software.

In 2020 I decided to immerse myself in digital healthcare by joining my Trust’s Digital division as an Associate Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) focussing on Children and Young People’s services. I have also trained as a Clinical Safety Officer (CSO) in my current role, as a commitment to place.