NHS to trial depression app

Written by Sam Trendall on 26 January 2018 in News
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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends Deprexis technology for clinical trial

Credit: PA

An app to treat depression will be trialled by the NHS over the next two years.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that the health service trials the Deprexis digital tool designed to treat mild to moderate depression. The technology will be tested with about 200 patients in a trial process that will for up to two years in at least two of the therapeutic services offer as part of the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme of treating mental-health conditions. The trial, the cost of which is yet to be determined, will be funded by NHS England.

NICE, a non-departmental public body housed within the Department of Health and Social Care, believes that the app, which can be accessed on any internet-connected device, will offer an alternative form of therapy. During the trial, therapists will patients navigate their own way through modules of cognitive behavioural therapy  provided by the app. This will reduce the need to attend therapy sessions in person, NICE said, while therapists will be able to track patients’ progress, and also be alerted if their symptoms worsen. Patients and therapists can also communicate with one another via the app.


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Dr Paul Chrisp, programme director of the medical and technologies programme at NICE, said: “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.”

NICE is currently running the rule over 14 digital therapies for possible use in the IAPT programme. As part of which it has decided that, OCD-NET, an online tool for managing obsessive compulsive disorder, is not yet suitable for NHS trial. But the app can apply for NHS England funding to invest in improving the platform.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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