A randomized, controlled trial of child psychiatric assessments conducted using videoconferencing

J Telemed Telecare. 2000;6(2):73-82. doi: 10.1258/1357633001935086.


We used a PC-based videoconferencing system to conduct child psychiatry assessments. The telecommunications link was six digital lines, giving a total bandwidth of 336 kbit/s. Twenty-three patients (aged 4-16 years), accompanied by their parents, completed two psychiatric assessments, one via videoconferencing and another face to face (FTF). The order of assessments was randomized. Questionnaires were used to record the diagnosis, treatment recommendations and the psychiatrists', patients' and their parents' satisfaction with each assessment. An independent evaluator concluded that in 22 cases (96%) the diagnosis and treatment recommendations made via the videoconferencing system were the same as those made FTF. The psychiatrists stated that videoconferencing assessments were an adequate alternative to FTF assessments and did not interfere with diagnosis. However, the responses from the psychiatrist satisfaction questionnaire showed that they preferred FTF assessments. No significant difference was found in the patients' or parents' satisfaction responses after the two types of assessment. The majority of children (82%) 'liked' using the telepsychiatry system and six (26%) preferred it to a FTF assessment. Most parents (91%) indicated that they would prefer to use the videoconferencing system than to travel a long distance to see a psychiatrist in person.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Remote Consultation / instrumentation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation*
  • Telemedicine / methods