Clinician Telehealth Attitudes in a Rural Community Mental Health Center Setting.

Author ORCID Identifier

Michael McClellanORCID iD icon



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Telehealth-based services in community mental health settings are on the rise and growth is expected to continue. Negative clinician attitudes toward telehealth have been identified as a key barrier to overall telehealth acceptance and implementation. The present study examined rural clinical mental health staff members’ attitudes toward telehealth. One hundred clinicians participated in a mixed-methods, Internet-based survey. Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported a favorable or neutral opinion of telehealth and 100% of participants reported their agency provided one or more clinical services via telehealth. Clinicians identified telehealth-related concerns about their ability to establish therapeutic alliance, software and equipment usability, associated costs, whether telehealth-delivered services were equivalent to face-to-face treatment, and HIPAA. These concerns were in line with previous research and all represent areas where additional training or knowledge could potentially address clinician apprehension. We found a strong positive correlation, r .66, p .01 between telehealth knowledge and telehealth experience. Telehealth knowledge predicted telehealth opinion (β .430, R2 .19, p .01) and an agency’s technological capability to provide services via telehealth predicted clinicians’ willingness to consider providing services via telehealth (β .390, R2 .15, p .05). Researchers and trainers should focus on increasing knowledge about the effectiveness of telehealth and providing clinicians with safe opportunities to gain comfort and competency with the technology needed to provide these types of specialized services.

Journal Title

Journal of Rural Mental Health

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