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J Telemed Telecare. 2012 Jan;18(1):17-9. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2011.100919. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Home telemental health implementation and outcomes using electronic messaging.

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National Telemental Health Center, Veterans Health Administration, West Haven, Connecticut, USA.


In 2007, the VA Connecticut Healthcare System began a home electronic messaging programme for mental health patients. During the first two years, 76 patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and substance-use disorders received a home messaging device, which was connected via an ordinary telephone line. There were daily questions, which were based on disease management protocols, and included alerts, data and educational components. Patient data were sent to a nurse practitioner each day for triage and follow-up. Patients used the device for at least six months. In the six months prior to enrolment, 42 patients were hospitalized for 46 admissions. In the following six months, six patients were hospitalized for nine admissions (P < 0.0001). In the six months prior to enrolment, 47 patients had a total of 80 ER visits. In the following six months, 16 patients had a total of 32 ER visits (P < 0.0001). Questionnaire responses indicated a high level of satisfaction with the home messaging programme.

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