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Healthware Group report on depression care in Italy highlights need for digital therapeutics

Mental health disorders are the fifth leading cause of disability adjusted life years in Italy

Mental health disorders

Healthware Group has published a report containing five expert proposals and a possible clinical-organisational process for the integration of digital therapeutics (DTx) across depression care pathways in the Italian national health service.

Mental health disorders are the fifth leading cause of disability adjusted life years in Italy, accounting for direct and indirect costs that exceed 3% of GDP. Depression is the most common mental health disorder, with more than three million people experiencing symptoms.

Despite the health and socioeconomic impacts of depression, Healthware Group reports that ‘numerous unmet needs’ persist across care pathways, and dedicated services remain underfunded within the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN).

Only 8% of patients accessing public mental health services benefit from psychotherapy, and it is estimated that the SSN could only address 20% of the need for this treatment for anxiety and depression.

Future Health report

Formulated by a multi stakeholder panel, Digital Therapeutics to enhance the care pathways for depression across the national health service: expert proposals for Italy, highlights the need to enable the systemic integration of DTx to enhance treatment pathways for depression within the SSN.

The experts also analysed the case study of a DTx already accessible and reimbursed in other European countries for the treatment of unipolar depression or depressive disorders, to define a possible clinical-organisational process suitable for the integration of DTx in Italy.

Alberta Spreafico, global head of digital health and innovation at Healthware Group, said: “It is evermore acknowledged that digital health innovations can help the SSN respond to growing population health needs, enabling new therapeutic possibilities and person-centred care models.

“In light of the supporting evidence, potential benefits and reimbursement being recognised to DTx in a growing number of countries, it becomes important for Italy to also define appraisal criteria, access modalities and organisational processes to enable their adequate, equitable and timely integration within the context of the SSN.”

Fabrizio Starace, director of the department of mental health, AUSL of Modena, added: “Digital therapeutics are an important instrument for improving access to specialist care, reducing waiting times, and for overcoming the reluctance to seek mental health services, especially amongst younger populations. The proven clinical efficacy of their use for depressive and anxiety disorders suggests their inclusion amongst the public healthcare service offering.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

30th March 2023

From: Healthcare



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