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NICE recommends new digital therapy for mental health patients

Monday 29th January 2018
Deprexis, a CBT-based app, should be prescribed as a digital treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression, NICE has ruled. Image: GaudiLab via iStock
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Digital therapy to help patients with mental health conditions should be prescribed by the NHS, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended.

NICE believes that Deprexis, an app that allows users to access programmes based around cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), could have significant benefits for people who are suffering from mental health conditions such as depression.

Patients can log in to the Deprexis app whenever they feel the need to complete a CBT module and their therapist will be able to see afterwards what work they have done on their mental health. The therapist will also be notified if a patient's condition appears to be deteriorating, while a messaging function allows for conversation between them so extra support can be sought if necessary.

This therefore means that mental health patients no longer necessarily need to attend therapy appointments in person, so can fit their recovery in better to their day-to-day lives. What's more, it leaves therapists with more time to see other patients - something that is needed as a growing number of people are diagnosed with mental health conditions.

NICE believes that as many as 200 people could be prescribed digital therapy via Deprexis immediately, with the recommended length of a course of this treatment coming in at two years. The healthcare body is advising that it will be most appropriate for patients who are suffering from mild to moderate depression.

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 ... 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."

Written by Angela Newbury

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