Future Focus


NICE recommends nine digital treatment options for depression and anxiety

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended six digitally enabled therapies for adult patients with anxiety disorders and three digitally enabled therapies for adult patients with depression for use within the NHS while further data is gathered.
It is thought that these therapies delivered via digital technology will free up clinical resources as they require less therapist time than standard care, meaning the time and resources can be used elsewhere within the NHS to increase access or reduce waiting times. Digital therapies for depression on average need 90 minutes with a therapist compared to eight hours required in standard care. Similarly, digital therapies for anxiety require four hours of clinician or practitioner time compared to ten hours of standard care.
A formal assessment with an NHS Talking Therapies clinician or practitioner will be required prior to starting digital treatment in order to ensure the correct intervention is matched to clinical needs and the patient’s preferences.
Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation at NICE, commented: “We know NHS Talking Therapies services are in demand and people are facing waits of several weeks. A part of the solution could be the use of digitally-enabled therapies recommended by our committee, which could increase the number of people receiving the treatment they need sooner. […] One of our priorities is to get the best care to people fast while at the same time ensuring value for money for the taxpayer – these digitally-enabled therapies do both. […] Every person seen by an NHS Talking Therapies clinician or practitioner is assessed so their needs can be fully understood. The choice of a digitally-enabled therapy must be the right one for the individual, ensuring that they get the care they need.”