An Internet Depression Therapy as Effective as Drugs?

Bret S. Stetka, MD; Jan Philipp Klein, MD


May 21, 2015

It's Not a Drug, It's Not a Device; Who Will Cover It?

Dr Klein: The next step is implementing the treatment into actual clinical practice. We have to deal with reimbursement issues. Our study was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Health, and they are really interested in this. What is uncertain is what this therapy is, from a regulatory perspective. There's not much in the way of precedent here. Some software is considered a device by the German government, but it's mostly software that controls interventions like anesthesia—software controlling something that physically interacts with the body.

Medscape: Do you see this as an adjunct therapy to pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy?

Dr Klein: it depends on the patient. There are patients who are skeptical and afraid of stigmatization and don't want to go into the therapist's office, or who might not have a therapist available, like in the Nevada desert. It could be helpful in cases like this, as an easier-to-access alternative treatment, or it could be used temporarily while waiting for psychotherapy. This also could be beneficial for immigrants who may not speak the language well, which precludes psychotherapy. I think there will be a lot of uses for this.


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