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Health Professionals and their use of Internet Interventions with Patients

27 March 2015 - Dr Jan Orman

In a survey of health professionals conducted by the National eTherapy Centre, 70% of health professionals surveyed were using internet interventions with patients, but this was focused on referring clients to self-help and educational web-based interventions. The health professionals surveyed reported that benefits of internet interventions included that they were a useful adjunct to face-to-face sessions, encouraging patients to develop self-management skills and reaching clients who might not otherwise engage in therapy.

Health professionals can also provide guidance to patients while they complete internet interventions. For example, a research trial of a 12-week internet intervention for panic disorder (Panic Online) found that both patients who received the program with email support from a psychologist and patients that received the program with face-to-face support from a GP showed clinical significant improvements in panic and panic-related symptoms. The GPs involved with the trial had received training in cognitive behaviour therapy through the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care initiative.

The internet can also be used to provide training to health professionals to help them with their work with patients. For example, Swinburne University of Technology offers training in online therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy to Australian postgraduate psychology students.

Dr Jan Orman
Dr Jan Orman

Jan is Sydney GP, private psychological medicine practitioner in Sydney’s inner west and a GP educator for Black Dog Institute.

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