Operations and Implementation
With support from the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, we conducted a pilot study to assess the feasibility, and to collect preliminary data on the effectiveness of a home-based telemental health (HBTMH) intervention among rural Veterans with established post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This 2013 pilot study aimed to enroll Veterans with PTSD in the VA Pacific Islands Healthcare System to receive 12 twice-weekly psychotherapy sessions via HBTMH. In addition to therapy sessions, the Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) was administered. DANA is a tablet-based device that collects neurocognitive efficiency measures as well as several measures of PTSD severity, depression, and sleep disturbance. Data were collected at baseline, mid-treatment (after three to four weeks), and post-treatment (after seven to ten weeks). The primary outcome was feasibility and acceptability of the HBTMH intervention compared to usual care. Secondary outcomes included preliminary data on HBTMH effectiveness as assessed by self-reported measures of PTSD, depression and insomnia, as well as neurocognitive measures assessed by DANA.
A total of 29 Veterans with PTSD were completed the protocol. Of these, 78.7% were male, 74.5% had been deployed within the past 5 years, 38.3% reported a blast/explosion injury to the head, 68% and 40.4%, had diagnosed depression and anxiety disorders, respectively, 55.3% reported sleep problems, and 15.3% had attempted suicide in the past four years. The primary study outcome—feasibility of administering HBTMH to rural Veterans with PTSD—was favorable. Participants were typically seen by a mental health professional within two weeks of referral, all surveyed participants reported a high degree of comfort using the TMH technology, and most participants reported that they preferred to see mental health and other professionals via HBTH or that they did not have a preference between HBTH and clinic visits. DANA-based measures of PTSD, depression, and a number of neurocognitive measures showed trends suggesting favorable response to treatment.
This pilot study of a HBTMH intervention supplemented by DANA indicated a favorable response on the part of rural Veterans with PTSD to receipt of telemental health services. The study also demonstrates that tablets can be used as part of mental health service delivery to collect data on a variety of measures, including neurocognitive function and self-reported symptoms of depression and PTSD severity. These feasibility data are an important step for future work focusing on the potential impact of mental health treatment on neurocognitive function in this population. Combining telemental health and tablet-based technologies may offer promise to a particularly high risk population of Veterans that does not have easy access to mental health services.
Dr. Corinna Lathan is CEO, Co-Founder, and Board Chair of AnthroTronix, Inc., a woman-owned biomedical engineering research and development company creating diverse human-centered products in digital health, wearable technology, robotics, and augmented reality. Most recently, Dr. Lathan led the technical team to develop an FDA-cleared, mobile digital health software platform for the Department of Defense as a deployed diagnostic support to evaluate cognitive function during treatment for depression, brain injury, and post-traumatic stress. She is currently co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Enhancement and is a thought leader on technology trends that impact health and healthcare.
Dr. Lathan has been featured in Forbes, Time, and the New Yorker magazines and her work has led to such distinctions as Maryland’s “Top Innovator of the Year,” MIT Technology Review Magazine’s “Top 100 World Innovators,” and one of Fast Company Magazines “Most Creative People in Business.” Dr. Lathan was named a Technology Pioneer and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and served as Chair of their Global Agenda Council for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
Dr. Lathan also serves as a Director on the following non-profit boards: Engineering World Health, The KID-Museum, and the National Black Child Development Institute, and she is on the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institute’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
Prior to founding AnthroTronix, Dr. Lathan was an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at The Catholic University of America and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Lathan received her B.A. in Biopsychology and Mathematics from Swarthmore College, and an M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from MIT.
President and CEO
Cori Lathan is President and CEO of Anthrotronix.
Resnick Chodorow & Associates
Helaine Resnick, PhD, MPH is President of Resnick, Chodorow, and Associates. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Tufts University, a master's degree in health policy from Yale University, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Resnick completed a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology at the National Institutes of Health. She has published 120 book chapters, journal articles, and technical reports on various health-related topics. Dr. Resnick is experienced with analysis and reporting of large public health data sets, longitudinal studies, and patient registries. She has served as the principal investigator on numerous grants and contracts, and as a co-principal investigator, senior consultant, and advisor on many others. Her efforts have been supported by numerous agencies including the NIH, CMS, AHRQ, ASPE, DoD, DoL, and AoA. She has been an invited speaker at various meetings both domestically and abroad. Dr. Resnick has worked in both non-profit and academic settings and has served in leadership positions in both settings. In addition to her consulting practice, Dr. Resnick holds an adjunct appointment at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.