The following aspects should be emphasised by practitioners to their patients when explaining the use of elona therapy:
Requirements and preparation:
- The contents of elona therapy are based on the method of cognitive behavioural therapy (on the medical content and sources). This therapy method comprises a broad spectrum of disorder-specific and cross-disorder interventions that have been scientifically tested and are evidence-based. For the treatment of depression, it includes established psychotherapeutic approaches such as behavioural activation (building and planning activities), cognitive restructuring (recognising, managing and changing automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions and basic assumptions), emotion regulation (knowledge transfer, handling and regulation of emotions), social skills and competencies (psychoeducation and behavioural training), mindfulness & acceptance (reflection of personal values, acceptance of unwanted feelings and thoughts) and relapse prevention (recognition of early warning symptoms, crisis planning). For the treatment of an anxiety/panic disorder, elona therapy also uses established approaches such as psychoeducation (imparting knowledge about the nature of anxiety, disorder patterns, comorbidities, models of development and maintenance, behavioural analyses and self-observation), exposure procedures (imparting knowledge, preparation, implementation and debriefing), cognitive interventions, emotion regulation (knowledge transfer, handling and regulation of emotions), aspects of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for anxiety, and relapse prevention (recognition of early warning symptoms, crisis planning, handling relapses). The contents of relaxation (progressive muscle relaxation, imagination, mindfulness and meditation) are also suitable for both areas of disturbance. In elona therapy, corresponding exercises - divided into courses, chapters and lessons - are available for patients. The overall goal is to reduce symptoms (e.g. anxiety, panic and depression) and to increase the quality of life, among other things by sustainably changing dysfunctional thought and behaviour patterns.
- elona therapy is based on the scientific concept of interlocked psychotherapy. Digital-based interventions are integrated into regular psychotherapy so that patients have easy access to individually tailored psychotherapeutic resources between therapy sessions. A large number of studies on integrated psychotherapy have already shown positive effects of integrated psychotherapy compared to conventional (face-to-face) psychotherapy (e.g. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics: Klein et al., 2016; Journal of Affective Disorders: Schuster et al., 2020).
- For patients, elona therapy is available as a native smartphone app, i.e. the patient should have an Internet-enabled smartphone (with the latest versions of the Android or Apple operating systems) and an interest in smartphone use. Practitioners can also access elona therapy via a web application and further tailor the elona therapy offering to their patients by selecting suitable content.
- As a digital health application, elona therapy can in future be prescribed by service providers (medical and psychological psychotherapists) and reimbursed by all statutory health insurance funds. This works in the same way as prescribing medication: the psychotherapist prescribes the app using the familiar form for prescribing medication (model 16). The patient can submit this prescription to his/her statutory health insurance. He/she then receives a code for activation, can download the app independently (from the Apple Appstore or Google Play) and register a user account with the code.
- elona therapy is a CE-marked medical device (Class I, MDD). Medical devices are regulated and must meet high requirements. These include technical documentation, clinical evaluation, acceptable risk-benefit ratio, usability and compliance with software life cycle processes.
- As a digital health application, elona therapy also meets high requirements for information security and data protection that go beyond the legal minimum standards of the DSGVO. The data is stored on servers specially designed for health applications in pseudo anonymised and encrypted form, so that the security of the data is guaranteed. As a manufacturer, Elona Health is also certified in accordance with ISO/IEC 27001 by TÜV Süd. We have compiled further information on our "Security & Trust" page. For more information on data protection, please refer to our Data protection declarations.
- Once the patient has downloaded the application and created an account, the psychotherapist and the patient can connect via a QR code or numeric code.
- Patients have access to psychoeducational content and behavioural interventions (exercises, methods and techniques) for the treatment of depression and/or anxiety disorders.
- Patients can easily access the contents and exercises of their therapy via their smartphone, which are structured topic-specifically and clearly in individual courses (e.g. anxiety disorder, depression, relaxation). In addition, exercises in elona therapy - unlike worksheets - cannot get lost.
- The patient can also regularly record his/her mood in elona therapy, plan activities and note/log questions and findings for the next session. This enables the best possible preparation and follow-up of the therapy sessions.
- The contents and exercises in elona therapy are multimedia-based - i.e. in text, audio or video form. The duration of each exercise is indicated at the beginning and is usually three to ten minutes.
- The continuous integration of exercises into the therapy can help to promote the patient's self-management skills, so that therapy contents are transferred more quickly and better into everyday life.
- The patient retains sovereignty over his/her data, i.e. the contents of the exercises are not shared with the therapist in elona therapy. However, the patient has the possibility to share the development of symptoms (e.g. mood) recorded in elona therapy with his/her therapist. This enables the therapist to improve monitoring, i.e. he/she has a continuous overview of the patient's development and receives a timely insight into possible changes in his/her patient.
- The therapist can send an appointment reminder via elona therapy and thus support the patient in reliably keeping the agreed appointments. This increases treatment adherence.
- The patient can continue to have access to his/her therapy content after the end of therapy, if this is prescribed by the treatment provider. Beyond the therapy, the patient can regularly repeat helpful exercises and refresh psychoeducational knowledge, which should contribute to improved relapse prevention.
Klein, J. P., Berger, T., Schröder, J., Späth, C., Meyer, B., Caspar, F., Lutz, W., Arndt, A., Greiner, W., Gräfe, V., Hautzinger, M., Fuhr, K., Rose, M., Nolte, S., Löwe, B., Anderssoni, G., Vettorazzi, E., Moritz, S., & Hohagen, F. (2016). Effects of a psychological internet intervention in the treatment of mild to moderate depressive symptoms: Results of the EVIDENT study, a randomized controlled trial. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 85(4), 218-228.
Schuster, R., Laireiter, A. R., Berger, T., Moritz, S., Meyer, B., Hohagen, F., & Klein, J. P. (2020). Immediate and long-term effectiveness of adding an Internet intervention for depression to routine outpatient psychotherapy: Subgroup analysis of the EVIDENT trial. Journal of affective disorders, 274, 643-651.