Telehealth Platforms Can Reduce PTSD Symptoms in Returning War Veterans

More than 500,000 returning war veterans were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2012. In light of Memorial Day two weekends ago, it is essential to continue focusing on our veterans and on the quality of healthcare that returning veterans receive.

Penetrating this population and targeting the illnesses that afflict our veterans is a monumental task. Many are elderly or disabled. Many fear the stigma attached to having a clinical, behavioral diagnosis. In 2014, over half of the veteran population lived in rural areas with extremely limited access to even community based VA clinics let alone a large VA medical center. Treatment for PTSD is only affective if it can actually reach the population.

One solution is providing PTSD treatment to our veterans via telemedicine video conferencing. This clinically beneficial technique offers telemental health care and HIPAA compliant technology. In one of the largest studies involving telehealth and PTSD, over two hundred veterans were provided with PTSD counseling. One hundred veterans received telemedicine psychiatric care for their PTSD symptoms while the other veterans received in-person care.

The study found that both groups saw a reduction in their PTSD symptoms, reflecting that telepsychiatry software can greatly enhance positive behavioral health outcomes. The vast majority of veterans that received telehealth counseling saw a great reduction in their PTSD symptoms after only a few sessions. They also continued to show improvements six months into the treatment.

Telehealth platforms can also reduce costs for veterans. According to the VA, with the addition of telehealth to their treatment programs, healthcare costs between 2009 and 2012 fell by 4%. This marked decrease was seen in a mere three years, and with the telehealth field still growing and improving rapidly, even greater cost decreases should be expected in the future.

With the shortage of doctors in the nation, focusing attention on alternative solutions, such as telemedicine video conferencing, is critical for the veteran community. They have paid one of the greatest sacrifices to our nation, so providing veterans clinical care that can be easily accessed within the privacy of their own homes is one way to begin paying them back for their service.

No veteran should have to suffer from PTSD because he or she cannot access a VA or healthcare facility. Telehealth platforms will begin to provide the solution that these veterans both need and deserve.