Use of outpatient psychotherapy via video consultation

Psychotherapeut (Berl). 2021 Feb 22:1-6. doi: 10.1007/s00278-021-00497-3. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Due to the hygiene measures during the coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of 2020, psychotherapy by personal attendance was no longer possible or only possible to a limited extent in many places in Germany. In its place, psychotherapy via video conference was used as an alternative option for treatment.

OBJECTIVE: The present study was concerned with the question of the actual use of this form of psychotherapy during the lockdown.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Therapists in the psychotherapeutic training outpatient department of the Medical School of Hanover were questioned on their experiences and the experiences of patients with the use of the video consultation during running guideline psychotherapy. Data from 338 patents could be collated. The data contained information, for example on acceptance or rejection of the offer of a video consultation, on the reasons for rejection and on technical problems by the execution.

RESULTS: The presented data show that 35% of patients could not be reached by the video consultation. Approximately half of the patients from this group could not use this form of therapy due to the lack of technical equipment. The other half did not want therapy using the video consultation, although the technical requirements were available. In the group of patients who used the video consultation, the session was interrupted due to technical disturbances in 31% of the cases. In a further 10% of the cases the disturbances even led to a premature termination of the session. The presented data make it clear that the use of therapy via video consultation significantly decreases with increasing age and reduced education level.

CONCLUSION: The results of the present study show that a considerable proportion of the patients could not be reached by the offer, despite the dissemination of the video consultation; therefore, in the case of further lockdowns special offers for this group should be considered. The authors recommend that the health insurance companies provide support for patients who do not have the technical requirements at their disposal. Patients who do not want to participate in this form of treatment need therapeutically motivating support.

PMID:33642699 | PMC:PMC7898015 | DOI:10.1007/s00278-021-00497-3