Online Feedback Reduces Depression Therapy Deterioration

Statistics regarding the prevalence of depression in the U.S. are hardly uplifting. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), one in six adults in the U.S. will have depression at some time in their lives. In any given year, approximately 16 million Americans suffer from the condition. We’ve written about wearable tech to detect depression, a cognitive app for treating depression, and much more.


A recently published study in The Lancet Psychiatry by researchers from the United Kingdom and Europe showed the effectiveness of online outcome feedback during treatment for depression. The study focused on deterioration in patients with depression during treatment, which often prolongs the length of treatment. More than 2,000 patients and 79 therapists participated in the controlled study. According to the lead author, Jaime Delgadillo from The University of Sheffield Clinical Psychology Unit, patients who received online outcome feedback during treatment needed fewer sessions to attain similar clinical success as the patients who did not receive the online feedback. The bottom line was the online feedback helped patients improve faster and at lower costs of care than patients who did not receive feedback.

This study demonstrates that health tech needn’t always involve sensors or machine learning. Using technology to report progress to patients based on mutually accepted criteria made a significant difference by shortening the time required for treatment.

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