Death Valley, CA photo: Darin Principe

Death Valley, CA photo: Darin Principe

Telepsychiatry    

     Telepsychiatry is a form of video conferencing that allows mental health providers to conduct examinations with patients outside of the office, for example at the patient’s home.  It is being used at the DOD, VA and IHS (Indian Health Service) as well as other health systems with great success at expanding access to mental health.Surveyed patients participating in telepsychiatry have reported they are very satisfied with the care they are receiving and that they feel telepsychiatry is a reliable form of practice. In addition, it has been found that patients are able to keep their appointments on a more regular basis.

     A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that compared in-office-treatment to treatment via telemedicine indicated “There were no statistically significant differences between study groups for symptoms, quality of life, and patient satisfaction".  The study also found that "telepsychiatry appears to be a reasonable alternative for situations in which it is difficult or impractical to arrange face-to-face assessments and that there is a strong hypothesis that videoconference-based treatment obtains the same results as face-to-face therapy and that telepsychiatry is a useful alternative” .