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E-Compared (news article)

European Comparative Effectiveness Research on Internet-based Depression Treatment

INESC TEC studies the use of the Internet as an alternative to treat depression

In January 2014, INESC TEC’s Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG) started the European project E-Compared (European Comparative Effectiveness Research on Internet-Based Depression Treatment), which studies the possibility of using the Internet to treat mental illnesses such as depression.

About half of Europeans in need of mental health care do not have access to these services, and oftentimes they do not receive adequate treatment or are faced with long waiting lists or high health care costs. It was this reality that led 14 institutions from 11 European countries to study the effectiveness of an Internet-based treatment that has the potential to provide a solution for the weaknesses of common treatment, guaranteeing at the same time a quality alternative at an affordable price.

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The E-Compared will thus develop a comparative study of the clinical and economic effectiveness of these two types of treatment (common treatment and treatment based on the Internet). The project proposes to conduct a set of random studies to understand how the treatment for depression based on the Internet can be implemented in the context of routine specialised care, but also to provide the kind of care that is best suited to each patient. The researchers will also evaluate mental health policies/guidelines in the European Union (EU). Finally, the E-Compared intends to issue recommendations on the profitability of depression treatment based on the Internet when integrated into mental health care systems in Europe, and develop a business plan to ensure the structural implementation of these services.

This multidisciplinary project brings together 14 partners from 11 European countries (Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, UK, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, France and Belgium). At INESC TEC, the CSIG team will design a technological infrastructure, algorithms for data analysis and custom models.

With a duration of 36 months, the E-Compared received funding from the European Union through the 7th Framework Programme.



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