ICBT versus face-to-face CBT for OCD: study protocol

My latest publication is the study protocol for our randomised controlled non-inferiority trial comparing internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) with face-to-face CBT for adults with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

We describe how we will do the first direct comparison between ICBT and face-to-face CBT for OCD, something that has not been done before. One improvement from previous trials is that we include both self-referred patients and clinically-referred patients, making sure that we have a “real world” sample of participants. We will also do a full health-economic evaluation to guide decision makers in the health care system.

I am proud that we promote scientific integrity by specifying our analysis strategy before the results are known. This is a fairly new phenomenon; researchers used to be free to analyse their data in a myriad of ways. The flexibility in analytic approach meant that researchers could tweak their analyses so that they showed the desired results—and nobody would know how many “false starts” happened before the published results appeared. By publishing a protocol article like this, we will be obliged to follow the analysis plan and openly discuss any deviations from the pre-specified protocol, which makes the results more trustworthy.

While all this is very exciting for me, we don’t know the results yet and we’ll have to wait another year until that happens. Sit tight!