Skip to main content
Psych Congress  

Practice Perspectives on Telepsychiatry Use

Quentin O'Brien, MPH; Purvi Smith, MS, MPH; Danielle Sender, MS; Jani Hegarty, BA
Health and Wellness Partners

This poster was presented at the 29th Annual U.S. Psychiatric & Mental Health Congress, held October 21-24, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas.

Background: Telepsychiatry is growing rapidly due to the shift to direct-to-consumer health care models, policy improvements, and expanded reimbursement.

Objective: To characterize telepsychiatry use among practicing psychiatrists and identify barriers to its use. Method: An electronic survey was sent to a broad sample of psychiatrists who treat adults with mental health disorders. Questions sought to characterize the proportion practicing telepsychiatry, which conditions are frequently managed via telepsychiatry, practice settings, care team involvement, and barriers to use.

Key Findings: Among respondents, 39% (45/115) reported that they practice telepsychiatry; 61% (70/115) do not. Respondents use telepsychiatry to diagnose/manage a range of psychiatric disorders including depression (100%), anxiety (98%), ADHD (68%), schizophrenia (66%), and bipolar mania (66%). Respondents indicated that telepsychiatry is practiced most commonly in conjunction with office (84%) and clinic visits (68%), but rarely with hospital visits (13%). Administrative staff (71%), nurses (68%), social workers and case managers (47%), and advance practice nurses and nurse practitioners (29%) play a role in telepsychiatry. Respondents who do not practice telepsychiatry most frequently indicated that they have limited opportunities to use it, lack of established protocols, poor understanding of billing/reimbursement, and limited knowledge of its benefits.

Conclusion: In this sample, more than one-third of psychiatrists use telepsychiatry for common mental health conditions, mostly in conjunction with office/clinic visits. These findings shed light on barriers to adoption of telepsychiatry and show that multidisciplinary care teams may be important in delivering telepyschiatry services. Further research may lead to development/dissemination of guidelines to improve telepsychiatry services. 

Back to Top