Barriers and potential solutions to implementing evidence-based PTSD treatment in military treatment facilities.

McLean, C. P., Cook, J., Riggs, D. S., Peterson, A. L., Young-McCaughan, S., Borah, E. V., Comtois, K. A., Dondanville, K. A., Frick, E., Haddock, C. K., Mann, J., Reynolds, D., Mistretta, M., Neitzer, A., Brzuchalski, A., Clayton, S. P., Conforte, A. M., DuMars, T. D., Ekundaya, K., Flores, A., Hein, J., Jinkerson, J., Keith, F., Kim, H. J., Link, J. S., Nofzinger, D., Pollick, K., Ringdahl, E. N., Waggoner, J., Woodworth, C., & Rosen, C. S., for the TACTICS Research Group.
Aug 10, 2022

Military Medicine. Advance online publication.

Introduction: Prolonged exp sure therapy is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder that is underutilized in health systems, including the military health system. Organizational barriers to prolonged exposure implementation have been hypothesized but not systematically examined. This multisite project sought to identify barriers to increasing the use of prolonged exposure across eight military treatment facilities and describe potential solutions to addressing these barriers.

 Materials and Methods: As part of a larger project to increase the use of prolonged exposure therapy in the military health system, we conducted a needs assessment at eight military treatment facilities. The needs assessment included analysis of clinic administrative data and a series of stakeholder interviews with behavioral health clinic providers, leadership, and support staff. Key barriers were matched with potential solutions using a rubric developed for this project. Identified facilitators, barriers, and potential solutions were summarized in a collaboratively developed implementation plan for increasing prolonged exposure therapy tailored to each site.

 Results: There was a greater than anticipated consistency in the barriers reported by the sites, despite variation in the size and type of facility. The identified barriers were grouped into four categories: time-related barriers, provider-related barri- ers, barriers related to patient education and matching patients to providers, and scheduling-related barriers. Potential solutions to each barrier are described.

 Conclusions: The findings highlight the numerous organizational-level barriers to implementing evidence-based psychotherapy in the military health system and offer potential solutions that may be helpful in addressing the barriers.