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J Telemed Telecare. 1999;5(1):38-46.

Evaluation of a telepsychiatry pilot project.

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  • 1Crossroads Regional Health Authority, Wetaskiwin, Canada.


We assessed a telepsychiatry pilot project in which a psychiatric hospital was linked with mental health clinics in five general hospitals. Information was collected through questionnaires administered to patients, service providers and psychiatric consultants, and by interviews. The technology was considered easy to use by participating health-care professionals and patients, and the quality of the sound and picture was adequate. Survey data suggested acceptance and satisfaction on the part of patients, service providers and psychiatric consultants. An economic analysis indicated that at 396 consultations per year the service cost the same as providing a travelling psychiatrist (C$610 per consultation); with more consultations, telepsychiatry was cheaper. Information gathered during the evaluation suggested that the use of videoconferencing for psychiatric consultations was a viable option for an integrated, community-based mental health service.

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