Has research been done to prove telepsychiatry works? What’s the evidence base?

Yes, telepsychiatry is comparable to in-person visits. In fact, studies have shown that telepsychiatry is effective for diagnosing mental disorders across ages — children, adults, and the elderly — and across ethnicities. Across studies, telepsychiatry has shown to provide clinical outcomes equivalent to face-to-face visits. Plus, across studies, diagnoses, and demographics, patients generally achieve improved symptoms and improved quality of life.

In fact, telepsychiatry has advantages over in-person care. Video visits increase access to a psychiatric practitioner, and can assist with collaborative care. Even those in rural communities and remote areas of the world — in other words, geographies with sparse populations — can access specialty care with the help of telepsychiatry.

Telepsychiatry is cost-effective. A study limited to the cost of providing clinical service has shown 10% reduction in cost per patient, when telepsychiatry was used versus in-person care. In the majority of studies, telepsychiatry is more cost-effective.

And both patients and providers are satisfied with telepsychiatry video visits. Patients feel they get along with their provider

Sources:

  • Hubley, S., Lynch, S. B., Schneck, C., Thomas, M., & Shore, J. (2016). Review of key telemental health outcomes. World journal of psychiatry, 6(2), 269.
  • Hilty DM, Ferrer DC, Parish MB, et al. The Effectiveness of telemental health: A 2013 review. Telemed J E Health 2013;(19):444-454.
  • Janca, 2000. Telepsychiatry: an update on technology & implications. Curr Op Psych 13: 591-7.
  • O'Reilly R, Bishop J, Maddox K, Hutchinson L, Fisman M, Takhar J. Is telepsychiatry equivalent to face-to-face psychiatry? Results from a randomized controlled equivalence trial. Psychiatr Serv. 2007;58(6):836-43.
  • Bashshur, R. L., Shannon, G. W., Bashshur, N., & Yellowlees, P. M. (2016). The empirical evidence for telemedicine interventions in mental disorders. Telemedicine and e-Health, 22(2), 87-113.
Last updated on 8th October 2020
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