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Telemed J E Health. 2008 Mar;14(2):131-7. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2007.0035.

Child and adolescent telepsychiatry: utilization and satisfaction.

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Childrens Hospital and Regional Medical Center (CHRMC), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.


Access to psychiatric care for children and adolescents is limited outside of urban areas. Telepsychiatry provides one mechanism to bring needed services to youth. This investigation examines whether telepsychiatry could be successful in providing needed services. Using interactive video teleconferencing at 384 kilobits per second, psychiatrists based at a regional childrens hospital provided consultation and management services to patients at 4 sites across Washington State located 75150 miles from the childrens hospital. Twelve-month review of billing records provided utilization data. Surveys of parents satisfaction over 12 months examined whether parents would accept and be satisfied with the care rendered to their children. Over the study year, 387 telepsychiatry visits were provided to 172 youth 221 years old with a mean of 2.25 visits per patient. The demographic and diagnostic profile of this sample was consistent with usual outpatient mental health samples. Parents endorsed high satisfaction with their childrens telepsychiatric care, with an indication of increasing satisfaction upon return appointments. Parents demonstrated some differential satisfaction, tending to higher satisfaction with their school-aged childrens care and lower satisfaction with their adolescents care. Telepsychiatry offered through a regional childrens hospital was well utilized and parents were highly satisfied with their childrens care. The stage is now set for integrating telepsychiatry into a system of care that meets youths overall needs and for controlled studies demonstrating the efficacy of telepsychiatry with youth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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