Transform Research Alliance: ‘Rapid Review’ explores E-health Interventions

Spectrum is a key member of Transform Research Alliance, a charitable organisation which conducts evidence-based research. Recently, they conducted a Rapid Review on E-Health interventions for Mental Health.

Examining the evidence

“E-Health” interventions use digital tools and technologies to provide mental health support for patients, alongside or in place of other mental health programmes. Using data from research, this Review analyses the effectiveness of e-health interventions for patients affected by anxiety and depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as well as children and adolescents.

E-Health interventions are more comprehensive and accessible than some interventions but tend to have lower completion rates. The review also found that, for patients with anxiety and depression:

  • Key factors which influence the ‘dropout’ rates of E-Health interventions were disease severity, treatment length and chronicity of the disease.
  • Patients with more severe illness or longer treatment programmes were more likely to drop out. Users self-reported other reasons for dropping out, such as time constraints, technical problems and lack of motivation
  • Not all e-health interventions offer the same strategies to improve mental health, and the literature presents a wide variety of self-management strategies
  • Children and adolescents use technology and there may be scope to offer them E-Health interventions, given more research in this area

Key recommendations

To inform provision, services should:

  • Offer or support use of guided self-help Web interventions
  • Offer E-Health interventions alongside personal support
  • Be aware that whilst acceptability is generally high, many have not been evaluated for clinical effectiveness
  • Ensure that privacy and security concerns are addressed through a robust privacy policy
  • Stay aware of rapid developments in the field

Do not:

  • Offer instead of personal support
  • Exclude children and teenagers from e-health interventions
  • Implement without an evaluation of clinical effectiveness

To find out more, visit the TRA website.