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Evaluation of Telepsychiatry Services Implementation in Medical and Psychiatric Inpatient Settings: A Mixed-Methods Study

HumanInsight Evaluation of Telepsychiatry Services Implementation in Medical and Psychiatric Inpatient Settings: A Mixed-Methods Study

Telemed J E Health. 2023 Jan 3. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0436. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Telepsychiatry consultation for rural providers may help address local staffing needs while ensuring timely and appropriate care from behavioral health experts. The purpose of this study was to assess the implementation of a telepsychiatry consultation service within medical and psychiatry inpatient units of hospitals serving predominantly rural areas. Methods: A mixed-methods study with qualitative interviews of site personnel and quantitative assessment of electronic health record data was conducted across 6 facilities in 3 U.S. states between June 2019 and May 2021. We interviewed 15 health care professionals 6 months after telepsychiatry was implemented, and we identified emerging themes related to the inpatient telepsychiatry service implementation and utilization through an inductive qualitative analysis approach. We then applied the themes emerging from this study to existing implementation science theoretical frameworks. Results: Telepsychiatry consultation was utilized for 437 medical inpatient cases and 531 psychiatric inpatient units. Average encounters by site ranged from 1 to 20 per month. The three main domains from the qualitative assessment included the impact on the care process (the partnership between inpatient units and the telehealth hub, and logistical dynamics), the care provider (resource availability in inpatient units and changes in inpatient units' capability), and the patient (impact on patient safety and care). Discussion: Implementation of a telepsychiatry service in the inpatient setting holds the promise of being beneficial to the patient, local hospital, and the rural community. In this study, we found that implementing this telepsychiatry service improved the clinical care processes, while addressing both the providers' and patients' needs.

PMID:36595509 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0436

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