Health & Wellness

Study: Internet-based Therapy Leads To Long-Term Recovery

The medical field has long debated the effectiveness of Internet-based therapy and counseling sessions.  According to a new study published by the American Academic of Pediatrics, adolescent chronic fatigue treated with Internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy effectiveness was maintained at long-term follow-up.

Online sessions with healthcare staff could prove to be a cost effective solution for patients in the future.  Internet-based treatments could also help reduce some of the rise in healthcare costs.

“Compared with usual care, Internet-based [cognitive-behavioral therapy] treatment of adolescents led to earlier recovery from [chronic fatigue syndrome],” researchers wrote. “This shortened recovery period is crucial during adolescence, when school attendance and social contacts are crucial for social and academic development.

Credit: Commons/Flickr

Credit: Commons/Flickr

Researchers surveyed participants from the Fatigue in Teenagers on the Internet (FITNET) trial, and they examined fatigue severity, physical functioning and school/work attendance.  Researchers found that 58.9 percent of adolescents recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Most of the participants who recovered after FITNET were still recovered at follow-up.  “The treatment effects of Internet-based [cognitive-behavioral therapy] persist at long-term follow-up,” researchers wrote. “A challenge remains to offer Internet-based [cognitive-behavioral therapy] in those cases that are most likely to benefit from it and to recognize situations that might require more intense forms of therapy.”

Healthcare portals are becoming more popular options for individuals seeking medical information and/or treatment on the Internet.  For instance, 1-800-Therapist allows patients to find and speak with board-certified psychiatrists, psychologists, and behavioral therapists in a patient’s local area.  The Company also features a patient relationship management system that distributes a patient’s medical information in the provider’s clinic, website, and mobile devices.

A similar website, 1-800-Oncologist, targets patients looking for more information on cancer treatments in their area.  Users can speak with a cancer treatment center or talk with a medication information specialist, as well as, get oncology updates online.

Both websites are attracting more and more users.

Earlier this year, Case Western Reserve University published a new study which found that new mothers suffering from postpartum depression are open to receiving professional care and counseling via the Internet and web-based applications. The findings are expected to encourage clinics and major hospitals to offer online psychiatric services.

In the study, 53 female respondents indicated they would turn to online interventions if offered by professional medical personnel. The new moms indicated that the services should also be made available anonymously due to privacy and data security concerns. Case Western’s School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences is publishing its findings in the new issue of Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. The women also preferred learning strategies to cope, information about depression, and blogging interactions with a health professional.

The investment community is providing more capital to medical technology firms.  There were 37 funding or M&A deals in medical-related startups in Q1 worth $365 million.  That figure represents a 35 percent increase for the same period in 2012, according to tech incubator Rock Health.

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