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Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety update: a systematic review and economic evaluation

Kaltenthaler, E., Brazier, J., De Nigris, E., Tumur, I., Ferriter, M., Beverley, C., Parry, G., Rooney, G. and Sutcliffe, P. (2006) Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety update: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Technical Report. Gray Publishing , Tunbridge Wells.

Published Version: http://www.hta.ac.uk/1405



To evaluate computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (CCBT) for the treatment of anxiety, depression, phobias, panic and obsessive–compulsive behaviour (OCD). The software packages to be considered include Beating the Blues (BtB), Overcoming Depression: a five areas approach, FearFighter (FF), Cope and BT Steps. Other packages or programmes incorporating CCBT were also considered.

Data sources:

Electronic databases from 1966 to March 2004. Evidence submitted by sponsors for CCBT products.

Review methods:

A systematic review was performed to identify all studies describing trials of CCBT. The costeffectiveness assessment included a review of the literature and the evidence submitted by sponsors for each of the products. A series of cost-effectiveness models was developed and run by the project team for the five CCBT products across the three mental health conditions.


Twenty studies were identified in the clinical effectiveness review. The analysis of these results showed some evidence that CCBT is as effective as therapist-led cognitive behaviour therapy (TCBT) for the treatment of depression/anxiety and phobia/panic and is more effective than treatment as usual (TAU) in the treatment of depression/anxiety. CCBT also appears to reduce therapist time compared with TCBT. When reviewing cost-effectiveness studies, only one published economic evaluation of CCBT was found. This was an economic evaluation of the depression software BtB alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT), which found that BtB was cost-effective against TAU in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) (less than £2000), however it contained weaknesses that were then addressed in the costeffectiveness model developed for the study. The results of the model for the depression software packages in terms of incremental cost per QALY compared with TAU and the chance of being costeffective at £30,000 per QALY were for BtB £1801 and 86.8%, for Cope £7139 and 62.6% and for Overcoming Depression £5391 and 54.4%. The strength of the BtB software being that it has been evaluated in the context of an RCT with a control group. The subgroup analysis found no differences across the severity groupings. For phobia/panic software, the model showed an incremental cost per QALY of FF over relaxation was £2380. Its position compared with TCBT is less clear. When modelling OCD packages, using the practice-level licence cost meant that BT Steps was dominated by TCBT, which had significantly better outcomes and was cheaper. However, the cheaper PCT licence resulted in the incremental cost-effectiveness of BT Steps over relaxation being £15,581 and TCBT over BT Steps being £22,484.


The study findings are subject to substantial uncertainties around the organisational level for purchasing these products and the likely throughput. This is in addition to concerns with the quality of evidence on response to therapy, longer term outcomes and quality of life. The position of CCBT within a stepped care programme needs to be identified, as well as its relationship to other efforts to increase access to CBT and psychological therapies. Research is needed to compare CCBT with other therapies that reduce therapist time, in particular bibliotherapy and to explore the use of CCBT via the Internet. Independent research is needed, particularly RCTs, that examine areas such as patient preference and therapist involvement within primary care.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright: Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2006 HTA reports may be freely reproduced for the purposes of private research and study and may be included in professional journals provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and the reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising. Violations should be reported to hta@soton.ac.uk Applications for commercial reproduction should be addressed to HMSO, The Copyright Unit, St Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BQ
Keywords: Depression, Depressive disorder, Anxiety, Cognitive behaviour therapy, Computer assisted, Systematic review, Economic evaluation, Cost benefit analysis, Quality of life, Treatment outcome
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Diana Papaioannou
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:50
Published Version: http://www.hta.ac.uk/1405
Status: Published
Publisher: Gray Publishing
Identification Number: ISSN 1366-5278
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1805

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