Evaluation of a Shared Decision-Making Intervention on the Utilization of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy in a VA Outpatient PTSD Clinic
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has continued to emphasize the availability, access, and utilization of high quality mental health care particularly in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While dissemination and availability of evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) have only increased, treatment engagement and utilization have continued to be oft-noted challenges. Administrators, researchers, and individual clinicians have continued to develop and explore novel systemic and individualized interventions to address these issues. Pilot studies utilizing shared decision-making models to aid in veteran treatment selection have demonstrated the impact this approach may have on selection of and engagement in EBPs for PTSD. Based on these promising studies, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient PTSD clinic began to implement a shared-decision making intervention as part of a clinic redesign. In seeking to evaluate the impact of this intervention, archival clinical data from 1,056 veterans were reviewed by the authors for rates of treatment selection, EBP initiation, session attendance, and EBP completion. Time elapsed from consult until EBP initiation was also computed by the authors. These variables were then compared on the basis of whether the veteran received the shared-decision making intervention. Veterans who received the intervention were more likely to select and thus initiate an EBP for PTSD sooner than veterans who did not receive this intervention. Veterans, whether receiving the intervention or not, did not differ in therapy session attendance and completion. Implications of these findings and directions for future study are further discussed.