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Is Telepsychiatry Appropriate for Patients With Psychosis?

December 16, 2020

By Edward Kaftarian, MD
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The opinions expressed by Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone and are not meant to reflect the opinions of the publication.

In this occasional series, Psych Congress Steering Committee member Edward Kaftarian, MD, presents information on various topics related to telepsychiatry.
 
Q: Is Telepsychiatry Appropriate for Patients With Psychosis?

A: The short answer is “yes,” people with psychotic disorders can be treated via telepsychiatry most of the time. Telepsychiatry does not make people’s psychosis worse. Furthermore, despite popular belief, it is generally rare for psychotic people to incorporate telepsychiatry into their delusions.

Even when a patient is delusional about telepsychiatry, it does not necessarily mean that telepsychiatry is inappropriate for these patients.  It is simply another data point and an opportunity to have a conversation with the patient to explain what is being done to safeguard their privacy and confidentiality.

In rare cases, the patient will refuse telepsychiatry altogether based on a delusion. Of course, a voluntary patient cannot be forced to comply with any mental health protocol, including telepsychiatry, against their will without a court order or other legal justification. If a patient cannot be persuaded to give telepsychiatry a chance, other arrangements should be made to care for the patient onsite. 

More information can be found here.

Edward Kaftarian, MD, is chairman and chief executive officer of Orbit Health Telepsychiatry, a company that provides telepsychiatry services to jails and prisons, and a member of the Psych Congress Steering Committee. He is a nationally recognized psychiatrist and leader in the field of telepsychiatry and healthcare technology. Trained at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Kaftarian is board-certified in psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and addiction medicine. He has served in a variety of executive roles within the California prison system, including chief psychiatrist, senior psychiatrist, medical director, and director of pharmacy. He is also the founder of California’s statewide prison telepsychiatry program, which is the largest correctional telepsychiatry program in the world. Dr. Kaftarian can be reached at edward@orbithealth.com.

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