Across England the 15 AHSNs are working to deliver a new national adoption and spread programme which aims to transform the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the region.
What is the problem we’re addressing?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide.
ADHD can have a large impact on personal, academic, family and social interaction.
In the UK children can wait on average 18 months from their first appointment to receiving a formal ADHD diagnosis and the annual cost of ADHD assessments to the NHS is estimated at around £23m.
In the NHS Long Term Plan there is a commitment to improve children and young people’s mental health services which includes reducing waiting times for specialist services and supporting children, young people and their families through the diagnostic process.
The Focus ADHD model
The Focus ADHD intervention uses technology created by health technology company Qbtech Ltd. The technology, QbTest, measures a patient’s attention, impulsivity and motor activity all at the same time. These indicators are core symptoms of ADHD and accurate measurement adds objectivity to support timely diagnosis.
The intervention has shown a reduction in time to diagnosis by 153 days (median). Using this intervention increases staff capacity by reducing the number of appointments needed for diagnosis and by ruling out ADHD sooner for ambiguous cases. Releasing capacity of clinicians can help reduce waiting lists and allow clinicians more time to concentrate on complex cases.
With the support of the AHSNs, QbTest has already spread to 41 NHS trusts and 73 sites in England (correct in June 2020).
Find out more about the research and evaluation of QbTest with this short video from East Midlands AHSN who piloted the approach before it was selected as a national AHSN Network programme: