Reuters Health: Tablets tied to better use of VA mental health services

A new cohort study reports video-enabled tablets were associated with increased use of mental health services and less suicide behavior and emergency department (ED) visits for rural U.S. veterans with a history of mental health visits.

Veterans were 20% less likely to have an ED visit, 36% less likely to have a suicide-related ED visit and 22% less likely to engage in suicide behavior after receiving the tablets to engage in telehealth visits, according to the study.

Kate Chard, PhD, University of Cincinnati professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience and director of PTSD programs at the Cincinnati VA, reviewed the study for a Reuters Health article. She said the study provides "compelling evidence that the use of electronic devices improves access to care and care utilization."

"The only concerns would be ensuring that patients and providers were adequately trained in the use of the devices for visits and that there was Wi-Fi bandwidth in the patient's location," Chard continued. "Although COVID may have initiated the use of electronic care, this study provides strong evidence that this practice should strongly be considered as an ongoing option for many patients."

Read the Reuters Health article.

Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.

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