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15 June, 2022 - 20:24 By Tony Quested

ieso study proves value of integrated approaches for mental healthcare in diabetes

ieso, Cambridge’s data-driven AI healthcare company pioneering next-generation digital therapeutics in mental health, has unveiled study results showing that integrated approaches for mental healthcare in diabetes patients improved outcomes, patient engagement with self-management of diabetes, diabetes distress and quality of life.

It is estimated that 25 per cent of patients with diabetes have comorbid depression, and 40 per cent have comorbid anxiety. 

Comorbid mental health problems in patients with diabetes are associated with poorer quality of life, poorer diabetes management and even decreased lifespan. It is estimated that comorbid physical and mental health conditions increase physical healthcare costs by 45-75 per cent and that tailored interventions are associated with substantial savings in healthcare costs.

The study, conducted with support from Roche Diabetes Care Limited, enrolled 102 patients and evaluated the effect of a novel online CBT tailored for patients with type 2 diabetes. 

The intervention was delivered by accredited therapists over the internet, using text, and following a diabetes-specific treatment protocol. The study consisted of up to 10 CBT sessions per person lasting up to 60 minutes each. Each course of online CBT was delivered over a period of approximately 12 weeks.

The online CBT therapy was delivered by therapists that were specially trained to understand the physical symptoms of diabetes and how to manage them. 

Therapists were also trained to use an innovative form of cognitive behavioural therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, that allowed for a more personalised approach.

The study results showed that a course of tailored online CBT helped patients adjust emotionally to their diagnosis and also supported the overall management of their diabetes. 

Patients who received the tailored therapy had reduced levels of distress about having diabetes, increased engagement in managing their condition, and improved quality of life, compared to synthetic control arms derived from real-world health service data to benchmark clinical outcomes. 

The results also showed that patients had much higher recovery rates in terms of their mood and anxiety symptoms, relative to patients who received standard CBT, that was not tailored to address diabetes related issues.

Andy Blackwell, Chief Science and Strategy Officer, ieso, said: “Feelings of being low in mood or worry can have a significant impact on a patient’s ability to manage their diabetes. 

“We’ve now shown that addressing these feelings with tailored online therapy can improve a patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing,” said . “We’re excited to announce these results, which show that diabetes-specific online cognitive behavioural therapy can improve patient outcomes in Type 2 diabetes management and care.”

Chair Dr Andy Richards added: “The study provides evidence that integrated approaches for mental healthcare in patients with diabetes can improve physical wellbeing and patient outcomes, paving the way for further research into other long-term conditions. 

“These results have much wider implications for the role of digital CBT therapy, mental health and its impact on clinical outcomes across a variety of different healthcare conditions.

“New online tools are needed to improve patient access to quality mental health care, which can significantly impact clinical outcomes and associated costs in chronic diseases such as diabetes.”

ieso’s AI-enabled digital assessment tools and therapeutics for mental health conditions will build on the insights developed from the world’s largest outcomes-linked therapy dataset, which surpasses 530,000 hours. 

The data encompass insights in the treatment of common mental health conditions including depression and anxiety and those linked with long term conditions such as diabetes.

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