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NICE recommends for online and mobile depression programme for trial on NHS

Published on 24/01/18 at 09:32am

NICE has said that a new online and mobile app should be trialled on the NHS in the treatment of depression, after finding that it enabled patients faster access to care.

Deprexis, as the programme is known, is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and is available on any device with internet access such as smartphones or desktop computers. The system allows for patients to exchange messages with health professionals, and enables therapists to easily monitor patient symptoms.

To determine its efficacy in treating depression, NICE has advised that the programme be trialled for up to two years in adult patients with mild to moderate forms of the mental illness. Around 200 people are to be included in the trial, and will use Deprexis as guided by a therapist. Because users can log into the programme at any time to complete CBT modules, the necessity to see a specialist in person is greatly reduced, freeing up health service resources.

Dr Paul Chrisp, Programme Director of the Medical and Technologies Programme at NICE, commented: “Deprexis is a digital therapy that could help speed up access to care and free up therapist time to treat more people. This new programme, funded by NHS England, has meant that we can now open up access to innovative therapies by recommending them for real-world evidence study. Our aim is to provide evidence-based advice so services can make informed decisions and people have more flexible options to treat anxiety and depression.”

Deprexis is one of up to 14 digital therapies that NICE is assessing as part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. A similar tool, OCD-NET, has also been reviewed as a treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, but was deemed to require more development before it could be considered for a trial.

Matt Fellows

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