Real-Time Telehealth Versus Face-to-Face Management for Patients With PTSD in Primary Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Anna Mae Scott, Mina Bakhit, Hannah Greenwood, Magnolia Cardona, Justin Clark, Natalia Krzyżaniak, Ruwani Peiris, Paul P Glasziou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing real-time telehealth (video, phone) with face-to-face therapy delivery to individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), by primary or allied health care practitioners.

Data Sources: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central (inception to November 18, 2020); conducted a citation analysis on included studies (January 7, 2021) in Web of Science; and searched and WHO ICTRP (March 25, 2021). No language or publication date restrictions were used.

Study Selection: From 4,651 individual records screened, 13 trials (27 references) met the inclusion criteria.

Data Extraction: Data on PTSD severity, depression severity, quality of life, therapeutic alliance, and treatment satisfaction outcomes were extracted.

Results: There were no differences between telehealth and face-to-face for PTSD severity (at 6 months: standardized mean difference [SMD]  = −0.11; 95% CI, −0.28 to 0.06), depression severity (at 6 months: SMD = −0.02; 95% CI, −0.26 to 0.22; P = .87), therapeutic alliance (at 3 months: SMD = 0.04; 95% CI, −0.51 to 0.59; P = .90), or treatment satisfaction (at 3 months: mean difference = 3.09; 95% CI, −7.76 to 13.94; P = .58). One trial reported similar changes in quality of life in telehealth and face-to-face.

Conclusions: Telehealth appears to be a viable alternative for care provision to patients with PTSD. Trials evaluating therapy provision by telephone, and in populations other than veterans, are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21r14143
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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