TF on e-Health

For the last 15 years internet-based treatments have been suggested as one way to meet the high need for psychological therapies for mental health disorders. Numerous controlled studies, literature reviews and meta-analyses have documented that therapist-guided internet-based interventions are more effective than waiting-lists, more effected than unguided internet interventions and as effective as face-to-face treatment, with attrition in line with face-to-face treatments. In spite of numerous studies examining predictors of effect from internet-based treatments, we do not have knowledge about who are most likely to benefit from this treatment format. 

Moreover, we do not know who may benefit from unguided programs, from guided programs and blended therapy with face-to-face and internet interventions. Even though priority may be given to mental health (mHealth) to address these issues, a broader scope is also natural because of the diffuse imprecise borders with somatic health.

The eHealth field is, however, in extreme expansion in Europe and the world. Applications can be divided into different groups, depending on their function, content and delivery mode and categorized by user groups. They can for instance aim for understanding, monitoring, diagnosis, advice, treatment, or self-management and be targeted at adults, parents and children, teachers and so on.

At this moment, there are thousands of apps and programs online, which are supposed to help you; get to sleep, get less depressed, less anxious, relax, or get confident. The quality of these products is often open for debate, which is a risk as consumers are being tricked into believing that psychological methods are of no use. It is time for psychologists to get involved in activities to survey, monitor, investigate, and evaluate eHealth applications, as well as in efforts to guarantee the quality of applications and guidelines on proper use of eHealth applications. At the same time, exposure should be given to experiences with safe and effective applications. This should preferably be done in international collaboration and together with other health professions.

In order to develop a better understanding of the domain and develop a sensible strategy, in 2015, EFPA therefore decided to install this Task Force on e-Health.