Reducing illness-related anxiety and depression in patients with long-term health conditions

Orbi is a mobile app that aims to improve the mental health of people with long-term physical health conditions (LTCs) such as multiple sclerosis, IBD, Crohn's and psoriasis. Based on extensive research out of King’s College London’s Health Psychology Section, Orbi builds on the existing solution COMPASS (a Class I certified medical device), supporting physical and mental wellbeing together.

The problem

1 in 3 people with LTCs experience illness-related anxiety, depression or distress due to the challenges they face living with and managing their health conditions.

Mental health in the context of living with LTCs is an area that is not proactively addressed. Currently, treatment pathways for LTCs focus more on the physical aspect, for example, symptom management. Similarly, traditional mental healthcare doesn’t address the specific challenges people with LTCs face. Additionally, waiting times for mental health treatments are often high, with clinical staff overburdened.

Our solution

Orbi was developed using HealthMachine™ to help patients with LTCs improve their mental and physical well-being before more serious problems (like anxiety and depression) occur. 

The Orbi app is patient-facing, giving access to a range of features including:

  • A knowledge base that tackles topics relating to the challenges people experience living with LTCs (e.g. managing uncertainty and accessing social support).
  • Personalised content based on the user’s needs.
  • Symptom tracking which allows users to see patterns between health factors.
  • Setting and managing health goals.
  • Patient-reported outcomes.

We have used behaviour change techniques, based on cognitive-behavioural principles, to encourage adoption among users and ensure evidence-based support mechanisms are provided.


A randomised controlled trial of COMPASS, undertaken in tandem with national LTC charities, demonstrated clinically significant improvements in anxiety and depression. Findings also indicate significant improvements in quality of life. Early user research on the Orbi app suggests it is a user-friendly and acceptable digital health solution.


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