Woebot is an AI-powered chatbot that guides users through the management of distressing thoughts and feelings using principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The app operates like a social messaging application, and invites users to communicate with Woebot by sending text messages. Upon first using the app, Woebot asks how the user feeling, and what is going on in their life. Woebot also informs the user about how Woebot works and informs users that the app works best if the user can “help Woebot learn” by completing daily check-ins for two weeks. Then, Woebot responds by prompting with tools, skills, and strategies by inferring the users’ most immediate needs. Users also have the option to toggle “SOS” mode, wherein Woebot will offer emergency resources. Woebot is not designed to be used in an emergency, or to manage psychiatric crises.
Overall Score: 10/14
Research Base: 2/3
Research Funding: 0/2
Proposed Intervention: 3/3
Consumer Ratings: 2/3
Clinical Input in Development: 1/1
Software Support: 2/2
Date of Rating: April 2018
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Overall Score: Accceptable
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?: Yes
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Available For: Requires iOS 9.0 or later or later; Android 5.1 and up
Developer: Woebot Labs
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Principles, Symptom Tracking/Self-Monitoring
Targeted Conditions: Mood Disorders, Stress & Anxiety
Target Audience: Adults
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare provider: No
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A 2017 clinical trial of Woebot found that participants who interacted with Woebot for two weeks (up to 20 sessions) showed a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety compared to a control group of participants directed to read mental health self-help material. The study was designed to be a feasibility study for the potential of intelligent conversational agents in the management of depression and anxiety.