Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s social networking solution provides 24/7 support for people with eating disorders


SHaRON solution provides all-day care

Carelink is providing a platform for Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s social networking solution for people with eating disorders.

The first of its kind, and funded by the NHS; Support Hope and Recovery Online Network (SHaRON) is an ehealth system for sufferers of anorexia and bulimia.

SHaRON stemmed from a sense of frustration at the idea of ‘office hours’, when mental health issues can strike at any time day or night.

To address this, an always-available, 24/7 solution was required. It connects individuals to each other and to their care providers in the form of an online therapeutic and social networking platform, providing the highest levels of security for use by those with eating disorders, NHS clinicians, relatives, and carers, service users, ex service users, voluntary service professionals and other professions such as social workers.

The SHaRON application, provided and supported by Carelink, is a robust, mission-critical, secure platform, hosted on high-availability virtual servers with resilient SAN storage, holding a vast amount of hugely sensitive data related to its patients and clinicians.

Jonathan Burton, digital services manager at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “It is not unknown for people with eating disorders to be in and out of treatment for decades.

“A lot of resources get invested into helping patients in treatment, but then they go back into the real world with little ongoing support, and hit crisis again – it’s like a revolving door.

“With SHaRON, we can help address this and track progress. In addition, because we are also able to track key words such as ‘cutting’ or ‘purging’, we are able to manage those most at risk.

He added: “We think of the Carelink infrastructure like our bank vault. The data centre level of security provided by Carelink is no different – it’s as resilient as it could possibly be – we believe it to be world class.

“Of course, you do pay for infrastructure such as this, but for the level of service, value and return on investment (ROI) it’s worth it.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

“When you’re dealing with data as highly sensitive as ours and delivering a service that patients depend on, you don’t cut corners.”