Tech to help diagnose ADHD is rolled out by NHS

Tech to help diagnose ADHD is rolled out by NHS

The AHSN Network, including the South West Academic Health Science Network, is helping to transform Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) services across England with the rollout of technology that can provide an objective assessment and help families to receive a diagnosis more quickly.


ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide. Symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

If undiagnosed and/or untreated ADHD can have a significant impact on personal development, academic outcomes and social interaction. Mental health charity Mind also indicates that those with ADHD are more likely to experience a mental health problem.

New figures released during ADHD Awareness Month (October) show that, since the start of the first ‘demonstrator’ site in the East Midlands in 2017, 52,000 children across England have had an objective assessment for ADHD using the QbTest technology.

The QbTest is a computer-based test that measures the disorders key components (attention, impulsivity and activity) all at the same time, which can reduce diagnosis time by approximately five months (153 days). It can also help to rule out ADHD as a diagnosis and help clinical teams to work with families to identify other possible causes where appropriate.

The QbTest has a strong evidence base that shows direct benefits for the patient, their family as well as the wider healthcare system.

Following the real-world demonstrator project commissioned by East Midlands AHSN in 2017, the team is leading the national Focus ADHD programme across all 15 AHSNs, including the South West AHSN, to roll the test out across the country.

Despite Covid restrictions, nearly 10,000 children benefited from undertaking a QbTest in 2020/21. A further 9,500 tests have been completed by the end of September 2021 at 51 trusts across 100 sites.

Watch this video by East Midlands AHSN to see how the ADHD programme has impacted one family’s life.

To find out more about our work to improve ADHD assessments visit our webpage. You can also learn more about this programme on the AHSN Network website.

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