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BMJ Open ; 12(4): e058150, 2022 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784834


INTRODUCTION: General practitioners (GP) report increasing difficulties in referring patients with somatic symptom disorder (SSD) in specialised psychosocial care. Barriers are structural conditions of the respective healthcare system and patients' reservations against receiving specialised psychosocial care. As patients with SSD often predominantly assume somatic influencing factors for the development and maintenance of their somatic complaints, close collaboration between the GP and mental health specialist (MHS) seems particularly important. Integrating internet-based video consultations by remotely located MHS and primary care can improve effective treatment of patients with SSD by overcoming structural barriers and provide low-threshold and timely care. The aim of this randomised controlled feasibility trial is to investigate the feasibility of implementing MHS video consultations in primary care practices. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Fifty primary care patients with SSD will be individually randomised in two groups receiving either enhanced treatment as usual as provided by their GP (control group) or two versus five video consultations conducted by an MHS additionally to enhanced treatment as usual. The video consultations focus on (a) diagnostic clarification, (b) the development of a biopsychosocial disorder model, and (c) development of a treatment plan against the background of a stepped-care algorithm based on clinical outcomes. We will investigate the following outcomes: effectiveness of the recruitment strategies, patient acceptance of randomisation, practicability of the technical and logistical processes related to implementing video consultations in the practices' workflows, feasibility of the data collection and clinical parameters. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This trial has undergone ethical scrutiny and has been approved by the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg Ethics Committee (S-620/2021). The findings will be disseminated to the research community through presentations at conferences and publications in scientific journals. This feasibility trial will prepare the ground for a large-scale, fully powered randomised controlled trial. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: DRKS00026075.

Medically Unexplained Symptoms , Telemedicine , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Mental Health , Primary Health Care , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Telemedicine/methods
Psychotherapeut (Berl) ; 65(4): 291-296, 2020.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1680760


Due to the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the resulting constraints on personal (i.e. face to face) treatment, video consultations have recently gained a major role in the delivery of healthcare services; however, until now, most psychotherapists have little experience with conducting video consultations, not least because of poor possibilities for reimbursement from the statutory health insurance. This article provides (1) an overview of the effectiveness of psychotherapy interventions delivered via video consultations for depression and anxiety disorders, (2) recommendations for setting up and conducting these consultations and (3) first experiences of psychotherapists from a German feasibility study and from the provision in routine care in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BMJ Open ; 11(11): e047829, 2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1508363


OBJECTIVE: Despite available effective treatments for mental health disorders, few patients in need receive even the most basic care. Integrated telepsychiatry services may be a viable option to increase access to mental healthcare. The aim of this qualitative process evaluation embedded in a randomised controlled feasibility trial was to explore health providers' experiences with a mental healthcare model integrating mental health specialist video consultations (MHSVC) and primary care. METHODS: A qualitative process evaluation focusing on MHSVC in primary care was conducted. In 13 semistructured interviews, we assessed the experience of all mental health specialists, primary care physicians and medical assistants who participated in the trial. A thematic analysis, focusing on the implementation, mechanisms of impact and context, was applied to investigate the data. RESULTS: Considering (1) the implementation, participants evaluated the consultations as feasible, easy to use and time saving. Concerning (2) the mechanisms of impact, the consultations were regarded as effective for patients. Providers attributed the patients' improvements to two key aspects: the familiarity of the primary care practice and the fast access to specialist mental healthcare. Mental health specialists observed trustful therapeutic alliances emerging and described their experience as comparable to same-room care. However, compared with same-room care, specialists perceived the video consultations as more challenging and sometimes more exhausting due to the additional effort required for establishing therapeutic alliances. Regarding (3) the intervention's context, shorter travel distances for patients positively affected the implementation, while technical failures, that is, poor Internet connectivity, emerged as the main barrier. CONCLUSIONS: MHSVCs in primary care are feasible and successful in improving access to mental healthcare for patients. To optimise engagement and comfort of both patients and health providers, future work should focus on empirical determinants for establishing robust therapeutic alliances with patients receiving MHSVC (eg, leveraging non-verbal cues for therapeutic purposes). TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: DRKS00015812; Results.

Psychiatry , Telemedicine , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Mental Health , Primary Health Care , Referral and Consultation