Guided internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: Health-economic evaluation from the societal and public health care perspective alongside a randomized controlled trial

Claudia Buntrock*, Dirk Lehr, Filip Smit, Hanne Horvath, Matthias Berking, Kai Spiegelhalder, Heleen Riper, David Daniel Ebert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The evidence base for internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (iCBT-I) is firm; however, little is known about iCBT-I's health-economic effects. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of iCBT-I in reducing insomnia among schoolteachers. Methods: Schoolteachers (N=128) with clinically significant insomnia symptoms and work-related rumination were randomized to guided iCBT-I or a wait list control group, both with unrestricted access to treatment as usual. Health care use, patient and family expenditures, and productivity losses were self-assessed and used for costing from a societal and a public health care perspective. Costs were related to symptom-free status (score <8 on the insomnia severity index) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained. Sampling error was handled using nonparametric bootstrapping. Results: Statistically significant differences favoring the intervention group were found for both health outcomes (symptom-free status yes or no: β=.30; 95% CI 0.16-0.43; QALYs: β=.019, 95% CI 0.01-0.03). From a societal perspective, iCBT-I had a 94% probability of dominating the wait list control for both health outcomes. From a public health care perspective, iCBT-I was more effective but also more expensive than the wait list control, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €650 per symptom-free individual. In terms of QALYs, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was €11, 285. At a willingness-to-pay threshold of €20, 000 per QALY gained, the intervention's probability of being cost-effective was 89%. Conclusions: Our trial indicates that iCBT could be considered as a good value-for-money intervention for insomnia.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25609
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Cite this