Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is considered a major public
health problem in the U.S. due to its high prevalence and high rates of
disability associated with the disorder. For thousands of veterans,
PTSD is a chronic disorder, resulting directly from military service
that causes substantial psychological suffering and social disability.
Barriers to PTSD care include poor access, mistrust, and lack of
benefit from traditional treatments. While recently developed evidenced
based treatments like cognitive processing therapy (CPT) are very
effective, these treatments are not widely available, as a large
proportion of veterans live in rural communities and have poor access
to specialized mental health care.
The VA hospital system currently supports sophisticated telemedicine
technology that can provide CPT to veterans in their home communities.
The DOD project aims to assess the quality of CPT provided via
telemedicine and its impact on outcomes by comparing PTSD outcomes for
veterans receiving CPT via telemedicine vs. in-person care.
The patient-therapist relationship is central in establishing an
effective therapeutic relationship and is strongly influenced by
communication. Through a randomized clinical trial of 254 patients
receiving cognitive processing therapy either via telemedicine or by
in-person care, the VTOPS project compares provider-patient
communication during telemedicine consultations vs. in-person
HSRC serves as the data processing and management center for both the
VTOPS and DOD studies. Data collected will enable the VA system to
improve the quality and accessibility of health care to eligible
veterans with PTSD, regardless of their place of residence.
For more information visit: http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/ or contact Dr. Andrew Sarkin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.