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Meeting the continuing education needs of rural mental health providers.

Adler G, Pritchett LR, Kauth MR. Meeting the continuing education needs of rural mental health providers. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2013 Nov 1; 19(11):852-6.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Historically, mental health clinicians at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) have not had the same access to continuing education (CE) as providers at VA medical centers. Mental health clinicians at CBOCs desire an opportunity for VA-sponsored CE, especially on topics and issues pertinent to rural mental healthcare. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Since November 2011, VA CBOC mental health providers in 11 states have been offered a monthly live Web conferencing CE program. This article describes the program''s development, implementation, and evaluation. RESULTS: Eleven CE programs have been offered to 397 unique participants. Participants have provided positive feedback about the topics and their impact on job performance. Most negative feedback has been related to technical and logistical problems with the Web conferencing platform. Although providers asked for reportable CE units for licensure, many did not complete the post-test, which is required to receive credit for completing the course. CONCLUSIONS: The Web conferencing format has been well received by participants. Despite technical issues, results show that the participants were satisfied with the content of the trainings and could apply the materials to their job. Although CE units were available, not all participants applied for credit. Efforts to improve technical support and the rate of post-test completion are discussed. Rural mental health providers often have limited access to training opportunities. The VA CBOC Mental Health Rounds, using an interactive Web conferencing platform, has been a successful modality for delivering CE to rural clinicians in the United States.





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