A subset of participants (4.3%) also shared unease about the perceived lack of professional monitoring in self-guided digital psychotherapy and its impact that has on treatment efficacy and effectiveness (Box 1, data extracts 6–7).
Currently, digital psychotherapy consists of self-guided digital treatment, in which consumers use web-based and app-based care to apply therapeutic principles without any additional support; peer-guided digital treatment, in which consumers use digital devices with access to trained peer support specialists who support and guide their use of the treatment program; and expert-guided digital treatment, in which consumers use digital devices with help from a professional.
Studies find that digital interventions are efficacious, Healthcare organizations around the globe offer digital tools to their depressed patients and a new healthcare industry based on fee-for-service, subscription based digital treatment has emerged in the US.
Most notable was the issue of cost (Box 2, extract 1).
Participants reconfirmed that known in-person access barriers remained (e.g.: scheduling conflicts, and competing demands (e.g., family responsibilities (Box 2, extract 2).
Over half the sample (50.6%) raised questions about relative success rates between in-person psychotherapy versus digital psychotherapy (Box 1, data extracts 1–2).
Twenty two percent of the respondents questioned the effectiveness of self-guided digital psychotherapy.Subthemes were identified by at least three of the 164 respondents.Sixty two percent of the participants raised questions or concerns regarding the relative efficacy or effectiveness of digital psychotherapy and in-person psychotherapy.Several barriers complicate access to psychotherapy for depression, including time commitment, location of services, and stigma.Digital treatment has the potential to address these barriers, yet long term use of digital psychotherapy is poor.Future development of digital psychotherapy will need to address concerns regarding efficacy, privacy, data security, and methods to enhance motivation to use these treatments.