Synchronous Telehealth Yoga and Cognitive Processing Group Therapies for Women Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial Adapted for COVID-19

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Mar 29;10.1089/tmj.2021.0612. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0612. Online ahead of print.


Background: Providing care over telehealth grew slowly until the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing mental health care was readily adapted to virtual means; however, clinical trial research is nascent in adapting methods and procedures to the virtual world. Methods: We present protocol modifications to pivot a multisite randomized controlled trial study, conducted at Southeastern and Pacific Northwestern Veterans Affairs Health Care Systems, from being conducted in-person to virtually, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We measured outcomes of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and psychophysiological markers of stress among female Veterans with PTSD secondary to military sexual trauma. We collected qualitative data about provider and participant experiences with telehealth. Results: Across sites, 200 participants were consented (48 virtually), 132 were randomized (28 to virtual groups), and 117 completed data collection and treatment (69 completed all or some data collection or treatment virtually). Conclusions: The pivots made for this study were in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and offer innovative procedures leveraging technology and contributing to the broader landscape of conducting research virtually. Clinical Trials Number: NCT02640690.

Keywords: COVID adaptation; Veteran; group therapy; protocol; synchronous telehealth; telemedicine.

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