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J Telemed Telecare. 2008;14(6):277-81. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2008.080419.

Emergency telepsychiatry.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California Davis, 48th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


Telepsychiatry can be used in two kinds of psychiatric emergencies: one-time clinical events and public health situations associated with mass disaster. Emergency telepsychiatry delivered by videoconferencing has the potential to improve patient care in many settings. Although experience is limited, it has been found to be safe and effective, as well as satisfactory to both emergency department staff and the psychiatric patients treated. The development of comprehensive and standardized guidelines is necessary. There has been little use of acute telemedicine in disaster situations to date. However, telemedicine is becoming part of routine emergency medical response planning in many jurisdictions. Emergency telepsychiatry has the potential to reduce emergency department overcrowding, provide much needed care in rural areas and improve access to psychiatric care in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

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