Evidence-Based Practices for the (Web-based) Treatment of PTSD

Research Paper Title

Understanding How Clinicians Use a New Web-based Tool for Disseminating Evidence-Based Practices for the Treatment of PTSD: The PTSD Clinicians Exchange.

Background

Web-based interventions hold great promise for the dissemination of best practices to clinicians, and investment in these resources has grown exponentially. Yet, little research exists to understand their impact on intended objectives.

Methods

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Clinicians Exchange is a website to support clinicians treating veterans and active duty military personnel with PTSD, evaluated in a randomised controlled trial (N = 605). This manuscript explores how a subset of clinicians, those who utilised the intervention (N = 148), engaged with it by examining detailed individual-level web analytics and qualitative feedback. Stanford University and New England Research Institutes Institutional Review Boards approved this study.

Results

Only 32.7% of clinicians randomised to the intervention ever accessed the website. The number of pages viewed was positively associated with changes from baseline to 12 months in familiarity (P = 0.03) and perceived benefit of practices (P = 0.02). Thus, engagement with the website did predict an improvement in practice familiarity and benefit outcomes despite low rates of use.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the importance of methodologically rigorous evaluations of participant engagement with web-based interventions.

These approaches provide insight into who accesses these tools, when, how, and with what results, which can be translated into their strategic design, evaluation, and dissemination.

Reference

Coleman, J.L., Marceau, L., Zincavage, R., Magnavita, A.M., Ambrosoli, J., Shi, L., Simon, E., Ortigo, K., Clarke-Walper, K., Penix, E., Wilk, J., Ruzek, J.I. & Rosen, R.C. (2020) Understanding How Clinicians Use a New Web-based Tool for Disseminating Evidence-Based Practices for the Treatment of PTSD: The PTSD Clinicians Exchange. Military Medicine. 185(Suppl 1), pp.286-295. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz313.

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