Procedural and methodological issues in telepsychiatry research and program development

Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Dec;51(12):1522-7. doi: 10.1176/


Objective: The authors reviewed the literature related to telepsychiatry-applications of videoconferencing technology for mental health care-which offers hope for an affordable means of solving long-standing workforce problems, particularly in geographical areas where specialist providers are not readily available.

Methods: To conduct a comprehensive review of the telepsychiatry literature, the authors searched the MEDLINE database (1970 to February 2000), using the keywords telepsychiatry, telemedicine, and videoconferencing. Studies were selected that included the use of videoconferencing technology for the provision of any form of mental health care services.

Results and conclusions: Psychiatric interviews conducted by telepsychiatry appear to be generally reliable, and patients and clinicians generally report high levels of satisfaction with telepsychiatry. A significant limitation of the literature is the lack of empirical research on telepsychiatry, especially cost analyses and clinical outcome studies. The authors outline a research agenda addressing the procedural and methodological issues that should shape future research: study design, outcome measurement, consideration of patient characteristics, and program design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / supply & distribution
  • Program Development*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research*
  • Telemedicine*
  • Treatment Outcome