Innovation summary

According to the World Health Organization there are over 450 million patients (peers/consumers) and over a billion caregivers affected by mental health issues globally. Those affected by mental health issues seek solutions to two core problems: 1) trustworthy community support and 2) access to scarce mental healthcare professionals. TrustCircle seeks to resolve these problems by improving accessibility, affordability and quality of mental healthcare through technological innovations.

TrustCircle features the following components for the service user:

  • Find peers who are facing similar challenges
  • Track their health in a secure environment
  • Platform to ask anonymous questions and seek medical information
  • Partake in tele-psychiatry sessions with healthcare provider
  • Ability to find best experts and book appointments with providers
  • Manage privacy settings

Impact summary

  • 135 peers and caregivers and 15 healthcare providers have signed up for private alpha product to be launched soon
  • 30,000 peer and caregiver target in 12 months post-funding

“The TrustCircle team has made great progress in a very short time and has received support in their efforts from NAMI, SARDAA, PsychCongress, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.”

 

-Linda Stalters, Executive Director of SARDAA

Innovation details

TrustCircle is a peer-centered, online, mental health network for service users, caregivers and healthcare providers, which seeks to create timely access to trustworthy community support and providers. Described as a “Facebook for peers and caregivers with complete anonymity” TrustCircle is free to use and has many features for service users and healthcare providers.

Features for service users:

Find Peers

Ability to find peers who are facing similar challenges to  learn, inspire, encourage and build trust.

Track Own Health

Possible to track health in a HIPAA-compliant secure online environment with easy access and complete data portability. In addition, users are also able to download their health files to read and share with health experts.

Own Privacy

Ability to manage privacy settings and limit what is visible to others.

Ask Healthcare Providers

Platform to ask anonymous questions and seek medical information from best experts.

Book Appointments Online

Ability to find best experts and book appointments online based on availability.

Conduct Tele-psychiatry Sessions

Use of HIPAA compliant video conferencing, avoiding unnecessary travel time and cost.

Features for healthcare providers:

Setup a Personal Site

Customized practice website allowing for secure online sessions, patient information tracking and managing personal schedule.

Build Reputation Online

Point system to reflect actions taken as a participant on TrustCircle to build reputation.

Conduct Tele-psychiatry Sessions

Use of HIPAA compliant video conferencing, avoiding unnecessary travel time and cost.

TrustCircle also provides access to support resources endorsed by the user community:

  • Training on basic life skills
  • Games that improve quality of life
  • Listings of local service providers with trustworthy reviews
  • Information on the latest clinical advancements, local events, podcasts, programs and inspirational/educational videos

Key drivers

The key driver for success has been the unique and innovative feature of TrustCircle.

Challenges

  • Finding the best-fit technology co-founder who shares the vision and mission
  • Winning over the Board of Advisors (service users, mental health advocate and clinicians) required focus and persistence

Continuation

TrustCircle is has received interest from hospitals (public and private) that would like to implement the innovation in organization specific setting, to connect all mental healthcare stakeholders under one platform.

Partners

Funder

TrustCircle is a boot-strapped start-up and is self-funded

Evaluation methods

SARDAA plans to pilot TrustCircle during the launch in 2014. In addition, TrustCircle will measure its impact goals through user outreach and feedback.

Cost of implementation

  • $25,000 USD for building and marketing the innovation
  • TrustCircle is free to use for service users, caregivers and healthcare providers

Impact details

TrustCircle enrollment target is 30,000 peers and caregivers and 500 healthcare providers by end 2014. 135 peers and 15 healthcare providers have signed up as of December 2013. These users are from Africa, India and the USA.

Comments

Twenty years ago, founder's brilliant brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and quickly ostracized by community in India. To date his family is looking for solutions to two core problems: access to trustworthy community support and access to scarce mental healthcare providers. As per the World Health Organization more than 450 million people suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder, facing stigma and are served by only 200,000 Psychiatrists globally . Mental Healthcare is in a state of CRISIS and the world needs an alternative solution now. TrustCircle is the alternative solution that solves both these problems.

Psychiatric Disability Organisation is a small community based organization based in central part of Kenya. We work with people with mental illness and psychosocial disabilities. One of the biggest challenges we have faced is that people with these problems lack the courage to come out in the open and seek help due to the stigma associated with mental health problems in Kenya. We have been thinking of better and faster ways to reach people particularly those who could be suicidal, in order to enable them get help before it is too late. Technology is one of the biggest tools for removing the barrier as people do not have to fear stigma or discrimination if they access these services through their phone or computer. This very innovative App sound like the magic bullet we have been looking for. No need to reinvent the wheel. How can you help us get this technology and learn how to use it? We appreciate your response and any help given. Thanks, Mwenja
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