Evidence for telehealth group-based treatment: A systematic review

Melanie T. Gentry, Maria I. Lapid, Matthew M. Clark, Teresa A. Rummans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Interest in the use of telehealth interventions to increase access to healthcare services is growing. Group-based interventions have the potential to increase patient access to highly needed services. The aim of this study was to systematically review the available literature on group-based video teleconference services. Methods: The English-language literature was searched using Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO and CINAHL for terms related to telehealth, group therapy and support groups. Abstracts were reviewed for relevance based on inclusion criteria. Multiple study types were reviewed, including open-label, qualitative and randomised controlled trial study designs. Data were compiled regarding participants, study intervention and outcomes. Specific areas of interest were the feasibility of and satisfaction with telehealth technology, as well as the effect of video teleconference delivery on group dynamics, including therapeutic alliance. Results: Forty published studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Six were randomised controlled trials. Among the studies, there was a broad range of study designs, participants, group interventions and outcome measures. Video teleconference groups were found to be feasible and resulted in similar treatment outcomes to in-person groups. However, few studies were designed to demonstrate noninferiority of video teleconference groups compared with in-person groups. Studies that examined group process factors showed small decreases in therapeutic alliance in the video teleconference participants. Conclusions: Video teleconference groups are feasible and produce outcomes similar to in-person treatment, with high participant satisfaction despite technical challenges. Additional research is needed to identify optimal methods of video teleconference group delivery to maximise clinical benefit and treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Group psychotherapy
  • group therapy
  • support groups
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • videoconference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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