One in ten adult U.S. citizens are veterans and nearly half of those returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) experience physical or mental challenges.
Women veterans experience additional obstacles to readjustment, and mental health challenges for spouses and families are as high as for service members. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is a primary resource for counselors who support these individuals by providing a range of services and training programs. Our Digital team has been a proud partner of the VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) on several projects which built and evaluated a provider registry that will support clinicians who treat veterans and active duty military personnel with PTSD. A key responsibility for our team was to develop the PTSD Clinicians Exchange website which was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial.
Our experienced team of producers and writers incorporated scientific methods into the development and dissemination of this digital tool. Employing the ADDIE Model of Instructional Design (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate), we conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of mental health providers to better understand the practical and conceptual training needs of clinicians for treating active duty military and veterans with PTSD.
Through a comprehensive qualitative interview process, we ensured that the final web-based resource had the appropriate level and depth of information related to evidence-based practices for PTSD, self-care resources for counselors, and tools they can both use and share. The interviews also informed the format of the web-based exchange and helped us understand barriers to participating in a research study to evaluate it.
Clinicians were asked to share their experiences and insights on pre-determined topics corresponding to the project objectives. They were also queried about professional development and training needs, feasibility of registry participation, clinical practices and perceptions, clinician well-being, and effective methods for disseminating information about the website.
This project illustrates the Digital Research Solutions approach: scientific, thoughtful, and thorough. This process ensures that we not only develop high-quality programs, tools and products, but that we create them in ways that the end-users find informative, helpful, and accessible.