The consortium project "Ubiquitous Digital Empathic Therapy Assistance" (UBIDENZ), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), will run from 2021 to 2024 with the six participating partners Charamel GmbH, Better-At-Home GmbH, DFKI, ki:elements UG, University of Augsburg and Oldenburg University Hospital.
As a serious illness, the focus is on depressive disorders, as the number of people affected is steadily increasing. The first six months after discharge from clinical treatment are particularly critical in terms of relapses and suicide. High secondary costs result from inadequate treatment. A lack of outpatient follow-up care cancels out the (partial) therapeutic successes demonstrably achieved through expensive hospital treatment. This area with enormous potential for sustainable help for affected people continues to show considerable deficits.
UBIDENZ offers as a socio-empathic assistance system for depressive people already discharged from hospital an innovative aftercare management and an automated accompanying monitoring of the ongoing outpatient aftercare process.
Similar concepts of guided and technology-based self-help already exist, such as web-based psychoeducation, online counseling, follow-up via SMS, and interventional procedures such as e-mail therapy or computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy. However, these interventions neglect a central aspect: the patient's need for attachment or a social, empathic relationship. With an understanding, empathically acting avatar as the central interaction interface, the innovative use of UBIDENZ relies on a socio-empathically acting assistance system. This creates a therapeutic relationship with an incentive to use the system, which intensifies adherence to outpatient pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy and complementary therapies. Accordingly, the virtual UBIDENZ avatar serves as an adaptive transitional object from the depression-related regressive state of illness.
The project at a glance:
Project name: UBIDENZ (Ubiquitäre Digitale Empathische Therapieassistenz) - "Ubiquitous Digital Empathic Therapy Assistance"
Project duration: 2021 – 2024
Official project page: https://ubidenz.de