Telepsychiatry as a routine service--the perspective of the patient

J Telemed Telecare. 2001;7(3):155-60. doi: 10.1258/1357633011936318.


Patient perspectives were examined as part of an assessment of a routine telepsychiatry service in rural Alberta. Information was gathered through self-report questionnaires and telephone interviews. Of 379 questionnaires distributed to patients, 230 (61%) were returned. Of the patients who completed questionnaires, 89% reported being satisfied with the service and 96-99% were satisfied with the equipment and the room. Twenty-nine of 31 patients who were interviewed by telephone preferred telepsychiatry to waiting for a consultation, were willing to use the service again and would recommend telepsychiatry to a friend. While 25 of these 31 patients preferred telepsychiatry to travelling to a consultation, 15 indicated that they would prefer a face-to-face interview to telepsychiatry and a further seven were unsure. Twenty-three of the 31 patients interviewed would have had to miss time from work or pay for child care in order to travel to a conventional psychiatric consultation. The availability of telepsychiatry led to an estimated cost saving of $210 per consultation for patients who would otherwise have had to travel. From the patient's perspective, telepsychiatry was an acceptable technique in the management of mental health difficulties that both increased access to services and produced cost savings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Child
  • Cost Savings
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / economics
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychiatry / organization & administration
  • Psychiatry / standards
  • Remote Consultation / economics
  • Remote Consultation / standards*
  • Rural Health