Randomized controlled trial comparing health coach-delivered smartphone-guided self-help with standard care for adults with binge eating

Tom Hildebrandt, Andreas Michaeledes, Meghan Mayhew, Rebecca Greif, Robyn Sysko, Tatiana Toro-Ramos, Lynn DeBar

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35 Scopus citations


Objective: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown efficacy in the treatment of eating disorders. The authors conducted a randomized controlled telemedicine trial of CBT-guided self-help (CBT-GSH) assisted with a smartphone app, Noom Monitor, for binge eating with or without purging. They hypothesized that coach-delivered CBT-GSH telemedicine sessions plus Noom Monitor would yield greater reductions in symptoms of binge eating, purging, and eating disorders compared with standard care. Methods: Fifty-two-week outcomes for CBT-GSH plus Noom Monitor (N=114) were compared with outcomes for standard care (N=111) among members of an integrated health care system in the Pacific Northwest. Patients in the health system who met inclusion criteria were $18 years old, had a body mass index $18.5, met criteria for DSM-5 binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa, had 12 months of continuous health care enrollment in Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and had a personal smartphone. Participants received eight CBT-GSH telemedicine sessions over 12 weeks administered by health coaches, and outcomes were assessed at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, 12, 26, and 52. The use of available treatment offered within the Kaiser Permanente health care system was permitted for participants assigned to standard care. Results: Participants who received CBT-GSH plus Noom Monitor reported significant reductions in objective bingeeating days (b=20.66, 95% CI=21.06, 20.25; Cohen’s d=21.46, 95% CI=24.63, 21.09) and achieved higher rates of remission (56.7% compared with 30%; number needed to treat=3.74) at 52 weeks compared with participants in standard care, none of whom received any eating disorder treatment during the intervention period (baseline and weeks 1–12). Similar patterns emerged for compensatory behaviors (vomiting, use of laxatives, and excessive exercise; 76.3% compared with 56.8%; number needed to treat=5.11), eating disorder symptoms (body shape, weight, eating concerns, and dietary restraint), and clinical impairment (Cohen’s d=210.07, 22.15). Conclusions: These results suggest that CBT-GSH plus Noom Monitor delivered via telemedicine by routine-practice health coaches in a nonacademic health care system yields reductions in symptoms and impairment over 52 weeks compared with standard care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


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