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Rural Health Information Hub

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health

  • Project Title: The Alaska Veterans Telehealth and Biofeedback Services
  • Grant Period: 8/01/2015 – 7/31/2018
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Susan Maley, Project Director
  • Location: Juneau, AK
  • Program Overview: The Alaska Veterans Telehealth and Biofeedback Services program helped veterans in rural communities connect to trauma-informed behavioral and mental healthcare services via telehealth. The program used biofeedback techniques to help veterans address symptoms of trauma, including stress, sleeping issues, and chronic pain. Veterans measured biofeedback responses with a smartphone application and a separate handheld device which monitored heart rate variability via a connection to the smartphone charger. Trained counselors met with patients via a live-video telehealth connection each week to review progress and provide trauma-informed therapy. The program used telehealth technology that allowed patients to connect with counselors from their homes or other convenient locations, which helped to eliminate considerable travel barriers to accessing mental healthcare in Alaska. Participants of the original pilot reported that the program helped them learn coping skills and address anger, trauma, and sleeplessness. After responding positively to biofeedback techniques and telehealth sessions, participants were more willing to pursue additional mental health treatment options through telehealth.

Models represented by this program: