Overcoming Clinician Technophobia: What We Learned from Our Mass Exposure to Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Andrew M. Sherrill, Christopher W. Wiese, Saeed Abdullah, Rosa I. Arriaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mental health clinicians have migrated to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic and have reported their use of telehealth may be permanent. Understanding how stakeholders overcame hesitancy regarding the use of telehealth can potentially reveal how stakeholders can adopt future clinical technologies. The exposure therapy conceptual framework provides one explanation of how mental health clinicians can face their concerns about technologies that promise to improve clinical outcomes and worker well-being. We review available literature published since the start of the pandemic on the extent to which clinicians migrated to telehealth and their reactions to their transitions. In particular, we review available literature that describes negative attitudes and worries by clinicians as one of many barriers of telehealth implementation. We introduce the perspective that the necessary transition to telehealth at the start of the pandemic functioned as an exposure exercise that changed many clinicians’ cognitive and emotional reactions to the use of telehealth technologies. Next, we provide guidance on how clinicians can continue taking an exposure approach to learning emerging technologies that are safe and can benefit all stakeholders. Clinicians can now reflect on how they overcame hesitancy regarding telehealth during the pandemic and identify how to build on that new learning by applying strategies used in exposure therapy. The future of clinical work will increasingly require mental health clinicians to better serve their patient populations and enhance their own well-being by overcoming technophobia, a broad term for any level of hesitancy, reluctance, skepticism, worry, anxiety, or fear of implementing technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-553
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Technology in Behavioral Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


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