HITLAB's Research Published in Cureus

January 19, 2022

We are excited to share our latest paper published in Cureus Journal of Medical Science in collaboration with Brightside and Yalini Senathirajah, PhD “The comparative evaluation of measurement-based psychiatric care delivered via specialized telemental health platform vs. treatment as usual: A retrospective analysis”

Congratulations to the entire Brightside team as well as to Sara Kuppin Chokshi, DrPH and Vandana Yadav and the entire HITLAB research practice, who all worked hard on this study.

Background on the Article

A significant proportion of the adult population in the United States (US) live with some form of mental illness. The more prevalent conditions of depression and anxiety are typically managed in primary care settings rather than specialty care. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of a novel, measurement-driven psychiatric treatment platform delivered via an online telemental health platform as compared to treatment as usual (TAU).


This study examines the effectiveness of a telemental health platform compared to treatment as usual (TAU) in significantly reducing symptoms of depression in adults. The telemental health platform approach is predicated on the hypothesis that algorithmic clinical decision support, plus frictionless communication between patient and prescriber, along with more frequent measurement-based assessments and medication adjustment, yields better outcomes for patients. While Brightside offers psychiatric services alone as well as in combination with therapy, the focus of this study is on the platform’s core offering of psychiatric care and medication delivery.

The objective of this retrospective cohort study is to identify and analyze the differences between depression TAU and novel, measurement-driven psychiatric treatment delivered through an online telemental health platform.

 To our knowledge, this is the first known study to compare patient outcomes between a novel, platform-based psychiatry service to TAU. Given the shortage of psychiatric service providers, primary care has become a front-line option for patients who experience mental health disorders. PCPs, however, must be attuned to a variety of health concerns and chronic conditions and therefore have far less time and energy to devote to the often nuanced needs and treatment options for patients with depression. Telemental health platform-delivered psychiatric treatment offers the convenience of remote service, as well as asynchronous touchpoints, frequent remote patient monitoring, and measurement-based care with validated tools.


The telemental health platform incorporating clinical decision support and facilitating measurement-based care led to greater reductions in depressive symptoms and greater remission rates compared to psychiatric TAU. Since this was a retrospective cohort study, conclusions about the efficacy of the platform could not be drawn. More research, such as a randomized control study, is needed to understand the role that specific functions facilitated by telemental health platforms, such as frequent touchpoints and regular measurement-based assessments, play in yielding better outcomes for patients with depression.

About the Authors

Sara Chokshi, Director of Research, HITLAB

Sara is a health services delivery researcher and digital health strategist with expertise in health informatics, user-centered design and implementation science. She is a frequent presenter, instructor and writer in the digital health space, with first author publications in top-tier public health and digital healthcare journals. Sara is committed to improving the experience of patients and clinicians through the creation, evaluation and implementation of novel, evidence-based digital health solutions.

Vandana Yadav, Senior Associate Consultant, Research and Strategy

Vandana is an avid digital health researcher with expertise in health technology assessment, competitive intelligence, and evaluation and verification research. She has worked on numerous, diverse projects with pharma, medtech, health systems, technology giants and budding startups to help them navigate their way through the rapidly evolving digital health ecosystem. She has completed her Masters in Biomedical Sciences from University of Edinburgh and Engineering in Biotechnology from University of Delhi. She is committed to supporting ideation, creation, evaluation, diffusion, and implementation of digital health solutions in a user-centric manner around the globe.

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