Telecare helps PTSD patients better manage symptoms


A study of centrally assisted telecare to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military personnel found the service led to improvements over usual care, according to research published at JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study involved more than 660 soldiers at six large Army bases who were being treated for PTSD at 18 troop medical clinics. They were randomized into two groups comparing 12 months of centrally assisted collaborative telecare (CACT) and usual care.

Both groups employed nurse care managers, medication and on-site psychotherapy. CACT also offered telephone support with care managers who helped patients with online self-management and a central psychiatrist, psychologist and nurse care manager served each site remotely.

The CACT group reported significant improvements in the severity of PTSD at 12 months and at six and 12 months for depression. The patients had fewer physical symptoms and improved mental health function compared to those undergoing usual care, as well as fewer suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness, according to the study.

CACT participants also adhered longer to their prescribed PTSD and depression medication.

However, no differences were found between the two groups in alcohol consumption, physical health function and levels of pain. And there was no difference in the number of individual visits with a mental health specialist, the study noted.

Both the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs previously came under fire from an Institute of Medicine report that criticized their inability to track the efficacy of PTSD treatment throughout their systems.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract