Virtual Knowledge Network (VKN): Democratizing Knowledge for Collaborative Care in Addiction and Mental Health


Capacity building with Co-ordinated Care in Addiction & Mental Health

 The mission is to expand the capacity to provide best practice care for Addiction & Mental health among health care professionals and assess the outcome in India

NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences), Bangalore has always been in the forefront of human resource training in mental health and substance use. However, we realized more than a decade ago that face to face training is expensive and its reach across the country is limited. The glaring “treatment gap” of  > 75% (mhGAP, WHO) spurred us to look for innovative cost-effective methods to expand our reach. The advent of newer technology and engagement with the Project ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcome) (https://echo.unm.edu/) has enabled the NIMHANS to innovate and exponentially increase workforce training and simultaneously reach hundreds of health care professionals/providers to provide best-practices mental health care and reduce health disparities in the community.
Since 2014, NIMHANS has piloted a “Virtual Knowledge Network” (VKN) with the mission of  providing quality care in mental health by Collaborative learning and capacity building by using digital technology. Thus the people get the care they need, where they live, by people they know and trust.
The Virtual Knowledge Network (VKN) ECHO model  (vlc.nimhans.ac.in) has been using HUB and SPOKEs knowledge-sharing networks, led by expert teams of NIMHANS who use multi-point video conferencing to conduct virtual sessions with community providers. The focus of this weekly session/clinic is on “case-based learning to understand the complexities”, “following best-practices like algorithms, guidelines along with clinical wisdom for knowledge diffusion”, “using technology to leverage scare resources” and “ web based monitoring for the outcomes”. This live virtual session is accessible through smartphones (3Gor 4G), tablets as well as toll free numbers across country. (Chand et al. 2014)
These live sessions are linked to a mobile e-learning certification through which learners can access the learning materials as well as relevant questions anytime and anywhere. NIMHANS provides accreditation for the learners who have completed this blended learning ( virtual + e-learning). In this way, remote primary care doctors, nurses, counsellors and other clinicians learn to provide excellent specialty care to patients in their own communities.Virtual Knowledge Network  has created huge synergies between academicians and health care practitioners in implementing “best practices”

In 2016, this model has been selected as GOOD, REPLICABLE and INNOVATIVE  Practices by MOHFW and NHM New Delhi nhm.gov.in 

A. An intensive Capacity Building with Collaborative Care: Specific areas 1. Addiction Mental Health 2. Women Mental Health 3. Rehabilitation Psychiatry 4. Tobacco Cessation

B. State Specific Capacity Building with State Health Societies/NHM: Involved in Establishing Addiction program for Bihar, Integrated Addiction Mental Health Program DMHP for Chhattisgarh (all 27 districts), Bihar District Mental Health Programme (14 districts)

Our Spokes and States trained and virtually connected to us