A new study finds that digital cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—when compared to other care options such as sleep medication and group and individual CBT—is the most cost-effective intervention for helping people overcome poor sleep. The study is authored by researchers at digital therapeutics provider Big Health, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and published in in the journal SLEEP.

The study examined the cost effectiveness of digital CBT 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, digital CBT—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.

[RELATED: Sleepio CBT-I Linked to Alleviation of Depression Symptoms]

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,” says Andrew Krystal, MD, department of psychiatry, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, in a release. “The near universal availability of digital devices, including smartphones, gives [digital] CBT the potential to reach many more people than traditional in-person group and individual CBT.”

Jenna Carl, vice president of clinical development and medical affairs, Big Health, says in a release, “The results of this study demonstrate that [digital] CBT can provide a significant return through lower healthcare expenditures, fewer workplace accidents, and better workplace productivity. In addition, its ability to provide a destigmatized and automated treatment option at scale makes it attractive for those suffering from poor sleep.”

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