Emergency management guidelines for telepsychiatry

Jay H. Shore, Donald M. Hilty, Peter Yellowlees
2007 General Hospital Psychiatry  
Objective-Telepsychiatry, in the form of live-interactive videoconferencing, is an emerging application for emergency psychiatric assessment and treatment, can improve the quality and quantity of mental health services, particularly for rural, remote and isolated populations. Despite the potential of emergency telepsychiatry, the literature has been fairly limited in this area. Method-Drawing on the combined clinical and administrative experiences of its authors this article reviews the common
more » ... dministrative, legal/ethical and clinical issues that arise in emergency telepsychiatry. Results-An initial set of guidelines for emergency telepsychiatry is presented to generate further discussion to assist those who are considering establishing general telepsychiatry and/or emergency telepsychiatry services. Conclusion- The practices and techniques of emergency telepsychiatry are relatively new and require further examination, modification and refinement so that they may be fully utilized within comprehensive mental health service systems. Background The past decade has witnessed a surge in the use of telepsychiatry, in the form of live interactive videoconferencing for clinical applications (1), and increasingly to assess and treat patients with emergency psychiatric conditions (2-4). The growth nationally of telepsychiatry programs means such providers will more frequently encounter psychiatric emergencies in the course of delivering psychiatric care. Delivery of telepsychiatric care, particularly to rural areas comes with its own unique set of challenges, including greater illness burden, fewer resources, geographic distances, differing systems of care, and cultural differences encountered in populations typically served by telepsychiatry (5-8). Despite the potential of emergency
doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2007.01.013 pmid:17484936 pmcid:PMC1986661 fatcat:ni5wirzqhzeblksel7bjrlpafm