The use of evidence-based innovations in the healthcare sector has significantly improved patients’ access to quality and safe health services (Pedersen & Johansen, 2012). Based on the effects of innovation on the healthcare practice, it is essential for nurse leaders to evaluate them and promote innovations that have a positive impact on health outcomes. This paper discusses Internet-based psychotherapy as an innovative tool for increasing access to quality psychotherapy services.
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The Innovation and Problem Being Addressed
Internet-based psychotherapy is an Internet-based innovation that allows psychotherapists to provide their services virtually. It has different applications in the healthcare sector, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2012), has registered its effectiveness in providing rehabilitation services to patients who have brain injuries.
The problem being addressed by the innovation stems from the need for patients who have acquired brain injuries to get rehabilitation services. Although they are required to visit a health care facility to get such services, some of them have trouble doing so because of geographical or logistical barriers. Consequently, they fail to get valuable services. Internet-based psychotherapy could bridge this service gap.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2012) says that patients with brain injuries who have received rehabilitation services using the Internet-based psychotherapy have reported improved not only cognitive functioning but also registered high levels of satisfaction with the innovation. For example, patients who had severe memory impairment reported improved cognitive performance because of the innovation (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2012).
A post-therapy assessment of the innovation also indicated high levels of satisfaction among therapists (buoyed by increased productivity) (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2012). The major contribution of technology is its improved access to rehabilitation services for patients who have difficulties traveling to healthcare facilities (Kumar, Sattar, Bseiso, Khan, & Rutkofsky, 2017).
How the Innovation Could Be introduced at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Strategies to Sustain It
Internet-based psychotherapy could be used by Johns Hopkins Hospital to provide emergency psychiatric services (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2018). It creates the opportunity for an in-office therapist to conduct cognitive therapy sessions on different groups of patients who visit the hospital, such as those recovering from substance abuse or those who are seeking child and adolescent psychiatry services (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2018). Sustaining Internet-based psychotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital requires the implementation of three key strategies. First, the treatments offered on the platform should be guided.
However, as Andersson and Titov (2014) opine, “guidance” does not necessarily have to be explicitly therapeutic in orientation; instead, it could be practical and supportive. Secondly, as suggested by Dückers, Wagner, Vos, and Groenewegen (2011), it is important to evaluate the impact of the innovation on the quality and safety of services offered to patients at the facility. Lastly, it is important for Johns Hopkins Hospital to make sure there is a functional information technology infrastructure within the organization that supports the technology. For example, there should be reliable Internet services and well-trained psychotherapists who are knowledgeable about innovation.
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Internet-based psychotherapy is an effective, evidence-based tool for the provision of psychotherapy services. The success of the innovation in providing rehabilitation services to patients who have brain injuries partially demonstrates its effectiveness. Johns Hopkins Hospital could benefit from the same innovation if it integrates the technique as a tool for facilitating outpatient appointments. However, to sustain the innovation, the hospital needs to provide reliable technology infrastructure, periodically evaluate the impact of the innovation on the services provided to patients, train its psychotherapists to use the technology, and make sure that the services provided on the virtual platform are standardized.
Andersson, G., & Titov, N. (2014). Advantages and limitations of Internet-based interventions for common mental disorders. World Psychiatry: Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 13(1), 4-11. Web.
Dückers, M. A., Wagner, C., Vos, L., & Groenewegen, P. P. (2011). Understanding organizational development, sustainability, and diffusion of innovations within hospitals participating in a multilevel quality collaborative. Implementation Science, 6(1), 18-27.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2018). Psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Web.
Kumar, V., Sattar, Y., Bseiso, A., Khan, S., & Rutkofsky, I. H. (2017). The effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Cureus, 9(8), 1-13. Web.
Pedersen, A. R., & Johansen, M. B. (2012). Strategic and everyday innovative narratives: Translating ideas into everyday life in organizations. Innovation Journal, 17(1), 2-18.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2012). AHRQ healthcare innovations exchange. Web.