Stakeholder perspectives on evidence for digital mental health interventions: implications for accreditation systems

Philip J. Batterham*, Alison L. Calear, Bridianne O’Dea, Mark E. Larsen, David J. Kavanagh, Nickolai Titov, Sonja March, Ian Hickie, Maree Teesson, Blake F. Dear, Julia Reynolds, Jocelyn Lowinger, Louise Thornton, Patrick Gorman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: Digital mental health interventions can be effective for treating mental health problems, but uptake by consumers and clinicians is not optimal. The lack of an accreditation pathway for digital mental health interventions is a barrier to their uptake among clinicians and consumers. However, there are a number of factors that may contribute to whether a digital intervention is suitable for recommendation to the public. The aim of this study was to identify the types of evidence that would support the accreditation of digital interventions. Method: An expert workshop was convened, including researcher, clinician, consumer (people with lived experience of a mental health condition) and policymaker representatives. Results: Existing methods for assessing the evidence for digital mental health interventions were discussed by the stakeholders present at the workshop. Empirical evidence from randomised controlled trials was identified as a key component for evaluating digital interventions. However, information on the safety of users, data security, user ratings, and fidelity to clinical guidelines, along with data from routine care including adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes, were also identified as important considerations when evaluating an intervention. There are considerable challenges in weighing the evidence for a digital mental health intervention. Conclusions: Empirical evidence should be the cornerstone of any accreditation system to identify appropriate digital mental health interventions. However, robust accreditation systems should also account for program and user safety, user engagement and experience, and fidelity to clinical treatment guidelines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalDigital Health
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • internet interventions
    • apps
    • accreditation
    • dissemination


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