Telepsychiatry

Telepsychiatry is the process of providing mental health care from a distance through telemedicine technology, often using videoconferencing. Telepsychiatry, a subset of telemedicine, involves direct and live interactive communication between a psychiatrist and the patient providing a range of services including psychiatric evaluations, therapy (individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy), patient education and medication management.

It also encompasses psychiatrists supporting primary care providers with mental health care consultation and expertise. It can also involve recording medical information (images, videos, etc.) and sending this to a distant site for later review.

Benefits

  • Improve access to mental health specialty care that might not otherwise be available (e.g., in rural areas)
  • Bring care to the patient’s location
  • Help integrate behavioral health care and primary care, leading to better outcomes
  • Reduce the need for trips to the emergency room
  • Reduce delays in care
  • Improve continuity of care and follow-up
  • Reduce the need for time off work, childcare services, etc. to access appointments far away
  • Reduce potential transportation barriers, such as lack of transportation or the need for long drives
  • Reduce the barrier of stigma