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Wysa is a smartphone app that offers an artificially intelligent smartbot to anonymously chat with and coach you to better cope with daily stresses. Wysa is designed to help with a variety of behavioral health issues like diabetes, smoking cessation, depression, etc. The home screen launches a chat box with Wysa who asks users how they are doing. Throughout the conversation Wysa offers multiple response options as well as a text box to type customized response if the given options don’t fit. From there Wysa guides users through cognitive reframing, breathing exercises, and other strategies depending on how they report feeling and what is appropriate for that situation. Conversations are not saved in the app unless users choose to save them.

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Credibility

Overall Score: 2.85/5.00

Research base 0/3
Research support 1/2
Specificity of proposed intervention 2/3
Number of consumer ratings 3/3
Product advisory support 0/1
Software support 2/2

Total 8/14

date of rating:  September 2017


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User Experience

Objective Quality Score: 3.87/5.00

Subscale scores:
Engagement: 3.20
Functionality: 4.00
Aesthetics: 4.67
Information: 3.60

Subjective quality score: 4.25

Perceived impact score: 2.83

Rating date: February 2018
Rated by: Queensland University


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Transparency

Overall Score: Unacceptable

Overall Score: Unacceptable

Does the app have a privacy policy?:Yes
Does the privacy policy describe the information storage and sharing procedures related to user entered information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state that the app/server encrypts/de-identifies the entered data OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the app provide the option of a pin entry or log-in process to view and enter user data?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can use the app WITHOUT entering identifiable information, OR state that user information is stored locally?:No/Can’t Tell
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can delete entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes
Does the privacy policy state whether or not users can edit entered information OR state that user information is stored locally?:Yes


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More Information

Available for: iOS 8.0 or later (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), Android 4.0.3 or later, Facebook Messenger
Developer: Touchkin eServices
Type of Treatment: Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Targeted Conditions: Mood disorders, Stress & Anxiety
Target Audience: Not specified
Designed to be used in conjunction with a healthcare professional: No
Languages Available: English
Cost: Free
Get it on: iTunesGoogle Play

Research on this App

There have been no RCTs evaluating the efficacy of Wysa. Although one study evaluated a similar app’s (Woebot) efficacy delivering CBT principles via a “conversational bot”. Seventy college students who reported experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety were randomized to either 2 weeks of using Woebot or to reading NIMH’s ebook “Depression in College Students”. The Woebot group significantly reduced their symptoms of depression as compared to their ebook counterparts. They also found that study completers in both groups significantly reduced their anxiety levels over the two weeks.

  • Fitzpatrick KK, Darcy A, Vierhile M. Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Ment Health, 2017;4(2):e19. doi: 10.2196/mental.7785