Study: mHealth Program Improves Mental Health Outcomes for Veterans | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: mHealth Program Improves Mental Health Outcomes for Veterans

October 6, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

A mobile and web-based wellness program employed by military veterans who had been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan had a positive impact on mental health and wellness outcomes, according to study by researchers in the department of psychiatry at the University of Vermont.

Veterans with a history of deployment in the global war on terror face ongoing and significant challenges with high prevalence of adverse psychological, physical, spiritual and family impacts, according to researchers. “Together, these challenges contribute to an emerging public health crisis likely to extend well into the future. Innovative approaches are needed that reach veterans and their family members with strategies they can employ over time in their daily lives to promote improved adjustment and well-being,” Janet Kahn, Ph.D., a researcher with the University of Vermont, College of Medicine, department of psychiatry, wrote. Kahn was the lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Researchers found that the use of a web-based and mobile wellness program had a significant impact on improving posttraumatic stress disorder and depression for military veterans, and their partners, and could be an accessible, low-cost approach that supports veterans’ well-being and mental health.

Khan and the research team sought to evaluate the effects of a web-based, self-directed program of instruction in mind- and body-based wellness skills to be employed by veterans and their significant relationship partners on mental health outcomes associated with post-deployment readjustment.

For the study, researchers recruited 160 veteran-partner pairs in four regions, San Diego, Dallas, Fayetteville, N.C. and New York City, with a specific focus on veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the veteran-partner pairs were provided web-based and mobile app video and audio instruction in a set of mindfulness-related stress reduction and contemplative practices through the Mission Reconnect (MR) program. Some couples were provided the MR program alone, while some were provided the MR program along with the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) for Strong Bonds weekend program for military couples. Other couples were provided the PREP program alone and still others were put in the waitlist control group.

During the first eight-week reporting period, veterans and partners assigned to the Mission Reconnect program used some aspect of the program a mean of 20 times per week, totaling nearly 2.5 hours per week, with only modest declines in use at 16 weeks. “Significant improvements were seen at eight and 16 weeks in measures of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, sleep quality, perceived stress, resilience, self-compassion, and pain for participants assigned to Mission Reconnect,” the study authors wrote.

The study authors concluded that both veterans and partners were able to learn and make sustained use of a range of wellness practices taught in the program.

“Home-based, self-directed interventions may be of particular service to veterans who are distant from, averse to, or prohibited by schedule from using professional services,” the study authors wrote.

Use of a mobile and web-based, self-directed program can be an accessible, low-cost approach that supports well-being and reduces multiple symptoms among post-9/11 veterans and their partners, the study authors concluded.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Survey: Infrastructure, Interoperability Key Barriers to Global HIT Development

A new survey report from Black Book Research on global healthcare IT adoption and records systems connectivity finds nations in various phases of regional electronic health record (EHR) adoption. The survey results also reveal rapidly advancing opportunities for U.S.-based and local technology vendors.

Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine has opened its Center for Connected Care to centralize the health system’s telemedicine activities.

Roche to Pay $1.9B for Flatiron Health

Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Roche has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to buy New York-based Flatiron Health Inc., which has both an oncology EHR and data analytics platform.

Financial Exec Survey: Interoperability Key Obstacle to Value-Based Payment Models

Momentum continues to grow for value-based care as nearly three-quarters of healthcare executives report their organizations have achieved positive financial results from value-based payment programs, to date, according to a new study from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Cerner, Children's National to Help UAE Pediatric Center with Health IT

Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, the only pediatric hospital in the United Arab Emirates, has entered into an agreement with Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Health System to form a health IT strategic partnership.

Telemedicine Association Names New CEO

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has named Ann Mond Johnson its new CEO, replacing Jon Linkous who stepped down suddenly last August after 24 years as the organization’s CEO.