|Big Health has become the first digital therapeutics company to receive guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which has recommended Sleepio as a cost-saving option for treating insomnia in a move that heralds a new era in digital medicine.
The NICE guidance states that Sleepio, Big Health’s digital therapeutic for insomnia, is a safe and effective treatment for people who would otherwise only have access to the current standard of care, which includes sleep hygiene advice and medication. In addition, NICE confirms Sleepio as cost-saving for the National Health Service (NHS), with evidence showing Sleepio reduces GP appointments and prescribing costs by providing instant access to cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) where face-to-face CBT-I is unavailable.
Studies show that nearly one-third of adults in the United Kingdom (UK) experience insomnia symptoms each week. NICE recommends CBT-I as the first-line treatment for insomnia, offered before or alongside medication. However, due to a lack of trained therapists, CBT-I is unfortunately not routinely available in the NHS for most people living with insomnia.
The NICE Medical Technologies Advisory Committee evaluated Sleepio’s industry-leading evidence base of 28 studies including 12 randomised controlled trials, featuring thousands of patients who had a diagnosis or symptoms of insomnia. Peer-reviewed clinical trials show Sleepio helps 76% of patients to achieve clinical improvement in insomnia. The Committee concluded that Sleepio is more effective than treatment as usual (sleep hygiene and medication) in reducing symptoms of insomnia in adults and is a cost-saving option, as demonstrated by an independent health economic evaluation of NHS services in the Thames Valley.
“This is a significant moment for the NHS and UK healthcare innovation as a whole,” said Dr. Nick Broughton, CEO of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Board Member of the Oxford Academic Health and Science Network (AHSN). “Sleepio has the potential to transform current mental health pathways by expanding access to guideline-recommended care for everyone in England. The Oxford AHSN and Oxford Health are delighted to have played a key role in Sleepio’s flagship implementation in the Thames Valley, where Innovate UK funding helped generate rich real-world evidence that made NICE’s evaluation possible. We hope that Sleepio will now be made available across the country.”
Sleepio is a clinically-evidenced digital therapeutic for insomnia developed by world-renowned clinical psychologist and sleep expert Professor Colin Espie. The programme is fully automated and highly personalised, with an algorithm tailoring behavioural interventions including CBT to each individual’s symptoms and needs. It is accessed via smartphone or web browser, meaning people can engage with Sleepio wherever and whenever they wish, without the need for clinician involvement. NICE guidance is a key step in increasing patient access to Sleepio, since it gives NHS commissioners and clinicians added confidence in funding and prescribing Sleepio to their populations.
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