E-CBT (myCompass), antidepressant medication, and face-to-face psychological treatment for depression in Australia: A cost-effectiveness comparison

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Abstract

BACKGROUND The economic cost of depression is becoming an ever more important determinant for health policy and decision makers. Internet-based interventions with and without therapist support have been found to be effective options for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. With increasing demands on health resources and shortages of mental health care professionals, the integration of cost-effective treatment options such as Internet-based programs into primary health care could increase efficiency in terms of resource use and costs. OBJECTIVE Our aim was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an Internet-based intervention (myCompass) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression compared to treatment as usual and cognitive behavior therapy in a stepped care model. METHODS A decision model was constructed using a cost utility framework to show both costs and health outcomes. In accordance with current treatment guidelines, a stepped care model included myCompass as the first low-intervention step in care for a proportion of the model cohort, with participants beginning from a low-intensity intervention to increasing levels of treatment. Model parameters were based on data from the recent randomized controlled trial of myCompass, which showed that the intervention reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress and improved work and social functioning for people with symptoms in the mild-to-moderate range. RESULTS The average net monetary benefit (NMB) was calculated, identifying myCompass as the strategy with the highest net benefit. The mean incremental NMB per individual for the myCompass group was AUD 1165.88 compared to treatment as usual and AUD 522.58 for the cognitive behavioral therapy model. CONCLUSIONS Internet-based interventions can provide cost-effective access to treatment when provided as part of a stepped care model. Widespread dissemination of Internet-based programs can potentially reduce demands on primary and tertiary services and reduce unmet need.

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Solomon, D., Proudfoot, J., Clarke, J., & Christensen, H. (2015). E-CBT (myCompass), antidepressant medication, and face-to-face psychological treatment for depression in Australia: A cost-effectiveness comparison. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(11). https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.4207

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