Limbic, the AI-powered triage assistant for mental healthcare

One in four people will experience a mental health issue this year. There simply aren’t enough clinicians to help the 25% of the population who will suffer in 2022 alone.

Realising the major supply-demand problem within mental healthcare, Limbic has built an AI assistant to support therapists by giving them clinical super-powers. This will make quality psychological therapy available globally. Every day, Limbic is learning how to support patients at scale.

Limbic is an AI-powered triage assistant for mental healthcare. Its empathetic chatbot carries out a validated mental health screen to identify needs and support treatment decisions. It is currently the most widely used mental health triage chatbot within the NHS, available to over nine million people across 17 regions in the UK.

Use of medical applications increased by 65% in 2020, partly driven by the pandemic. “These technologies offer incredible advantages, moving us towards a proactive, rather than a reactive, healthcare system. This will not only save money but more importantly, it will save lives. For tasks today a human is still needed alongside the technology, but we’re probably only a few decades away from being treated by robots far more reliably than a human has ever been able to,” said Andrew J Scott, Founding Partner of 7percent Ventures.

Ross Harper, Co-founder and CEO at Limbic said introducing AI into healthcare can be challenging. This is partly due to healthy scepticism amongst the clinical community about new technologies.

“We focused on making Limbic interpretable, stepping away from black-box modelling and actually having our software explaining its decisions,” added Ross.

Since being founded in 2017 by Ross Harper and Sebastiaan de Vries, Limbic has raised £1m in funding over two rounds. Investors include 7percent Ventures and Social Starts.

Andrew said: “At 7percent Ventures, we invest in these data-driven technologies. Our investments like Limbic, using AI for mental health triage and support, and Kheiron Medical, providing improved breast cancer diagnosis, are the sorts of transformative technologies that have a positive impact and improve the way we live.”

The future of AI in healthcare

“AI in healthcare requires explainability and ideally probabilistic interpretations,” explained Ross.

It isn’t enough to make a prediction, the model must explain why it has come to its conclusions and provide some measure of uncertainty in its own output.

“At Limbic, we employ clinical psychologists and computational psychiatrists to ensure that our AI is developed with expert guidance and fundamental principles of specialist areas of medicine built in. We think that the future of AI in healthcare is a blending of clinical and technical expertise - expect to see more and more medical doctors with an additional degree in machine learning,” concluded Ross.

“Technology is the future of everything and healthcare is no exception,” said Andrew. In this next decade we should expect an acceleration of advancements in healthcare. From virtual care where treatment is delivered remotely, to augmented reality used by surgeons.

Limbic has generated case studies with existing NHS partners and has seen an uptick in adoption rate. The next steps are to scale Limbic within the NHS and build out functionality to support additional care systems within a region. Beyond the NHS, Limbic is pursuing opportunities in other care settings and geographies.