Is there Satisfaction with Telehealth PTSD Treatment?

Research Paper Title

Factors contributing to veterans’ satisfaction with PTSD treatment delivered in person compared to telehealth.

Background

Telehealth is an increasingly popular treatment delivery modality for mental healthcare, including evidence-based treatment for complex and intense psychopathologies such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite the growing telehealth literature, there is a need for more confirmatory research on satisfaction with PTSD telehealth treatment, particularly among veterans, for whom the most rapid and permanent expansion of telehealth services has been implemented through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Methods

The current paper integrates data from two concurrent PTSD treatment outcome studies that compared prolonged exposure therapy delivered both in person and via telehealth for veterans (N = 140). Using two different measures of satisfaction (the Charleston Psychiatric Outpatient Satisfaction Scale-Veteran Affairs Version (CPOSS) and the Service Delivery Perception Questionnaire (SDPQ)), the researchers hypothesized that PTSD improvement would predict satisfaction, but that delivery modality (in person vs telehealth) would not.

Results

Results only partially supported the hypotheses, in that PTSD symptom improvement was associated with greater satisfaction, and in-person treatment modality was associated with satisfaction as measured by the CPOSS (but not the SDPQ). Subgroup differences by sex were found, such that male veterans, typically with combat-related trauma, were more satisfied with their PTSD treatment compared to female veterans, who were most frequently seen in this study for military sexual trauma.

Conclusions

Altogether, results illustrate a need for additional satisfaction studies with diverse samples and large sample sizes. Future research may benefit from examining satisfaction throughout treatment, identifying predictors of greater PTSD improvement, and further examining demographic subgroups.

Reference

White, C.N., Kauffman, B.Y. & Acierno, R. (2021) Factors contributing to veterans’ satisfaction with PTSD treatment delivered in person compared to telehealth. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. doi: 10.1177/1357633X20987704. Online ahead of print.

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