Positive outcomes from integrating telehealth into routine clinical practice for eating disorders during COVID-19

Bronwyn C. Raykos, David M. Erceg-Hurn, James Hill, Bruce N.C. Campbell, Peter M. McEvoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has required telehealth to be integrated into the delivery of evidence-based treatments for eating disorders in many services, but the impact of this on patient outcomes is unknown. Objective: The present study examined the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 and rapid transition to telehealth on eating disorder symptoms in a routine clinical setting. Method: Participants were 25 patients with a confirmed eating disorder diagnosis who had commenced face-to-face treatment and rapidly switched to telehealth during the first wave of COVID-19 in Western Australia. Eating disorder symptoms, clinical impairment and mood were measured prospectively before and during lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19. Hypotheses: We predicted that patients would experience poorer treatment outcomes during COVID-19 and would perceive poorer therapeutic alliance and poorer quality of treatment compared to face-to-face therapy. Results: Our hypotheses were not supported. On average, patients achieved large improvements in eating disorder symptoms and mood, and the magnitude of improvement in eating disorder symptoms was comparable to historical benchmarks at the same clinic. Patients rated the quality of treatment and therapeutic alliance highly. Discussion: Providing evidence-based treatment for eating disorders via telehealth during COVID-19 lockdown is acceptable to patients and associated with positive treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1695
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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