Digital CBT Most Cost-Effective Intervention for Poor Sleep, Reveals New Study

Sleepio Digital CBT cost effective

A new study authored by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and Big Health, a leading digital therapeutics provider, finds that digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (dCBT)—when compared to other care options such as sleep medication, group and individual CBT—is the most cost-effective intervention for helping people overcome poor sleep.

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Published in the journal SLEEP, the study examined the cost-effectiveness of dCBT over a six-month period using a Markov model simulation of 100,000 individuals and measured the direct and indirect costs of insomnia, including health care expenditures, workplace accidents, and workplace productivity.

The results showed that, when compared to no insomnia treatment, dCBT—as represented by Big Health’s Sleepio—was the most cost-effective care option followed by group CBT, sleep medication, and then individual CBT. Sleepio had a positive net monetary benefit of $681.06 per individual over a six-month period. A positive result means that the total cost benefits associated with Sleepio were greater than its direct cost, reports BusinessWire.

Beyond cost, “digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help overcome significant barriers to insomnia treatment for millions of people, including limited access to clinicians in rural areas, the lack of trained clinicians and, for others, the lack of awareness of their treatment options,” said Dr. Andrew Krystal, Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “The near-universal availability of digital devices, including smartphones, gives dCBT the potential to reach many more people than traditional in-person group and individual CBT.”

Results of a sleep study
Business Wire

“The results of this study demonstrate that dCBT can provide a significant return through lower healthcare expenditures, fewer workplace accidents, and better workplace productivity,” said Jenna Carl, Vice President of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Big Health. “In addition, its ability to provide a destigmatized and automated treatment option at scale makes it attractive for those suffering from poor sleep.”

Insomnia is a significant public health concern in the U.S. and it is estimated that 20-30% of the population experience symptoms each year. Costs related to insomnia have been estimated to be at least $1,400 per individual over six months (Ozminkowski et al., 2007; when costs are scaled to 2019 dollars). Insomnia is also associated with other costly mental health and chronic physical health conditions, such as depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Hertenstein E, et al., 2019; Lin et al., 2018; Javaheri et al., 2017).

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Sleepio and Daylight are backed by world-leading clinical evidence with more than 56 papers including 13 randomized controlled trials. With offices in London and San Francisco, Big Health’s products are used by large multinational employers and major health plans to help improve sleep and mental health, covering millions of lives.

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Cathy Russey
Cathy Russey () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies and specialized in writing about the latest medical wearables and enabling technologies on the market. Cathy can be contacted at info(at)