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Grubbs KM, Fortney JC, Dean T, Williams JS, Godleski L. A Comparison of Mental Health Diagnoses Treated via Interactive Video and Face to Face in the Veterans Healthcare Administration. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association. 2015 Jul 1; 21(7):564-6.
OBJECTIVE: This study compares the mental health diagnoses of encounters delivered face to face and via interactive video in the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA). MATERIALS AND METHODS: We compiled 1 year of national-level VHA administrative data for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). Mental health encounters were those with both a VHA Mental Health Stop Code and a Mental Health Diagnosis (n = 11,906,114). Interactive video encounters were identified as those with a Mental Health Stop Code, paired with a VHA Telehealth Secondary Stop Code. Primary diagnoses were grouped into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis, drug use, alcohol use, and other. RESULTS: In FY12, 1.5% of all mental health encounters were delivered via interactive video. Compared with face-to-face encounters, a larger percentage of interactive video encounters was for PTSD, depression, and anxiety, whereas a smaller percentage was for alcohol use, drug use, or psychosis. CONCLUSIONS: Providers and patients may feel more comfortable treating depression and anxiety disorders than substance use or psychosis via interactive video.