The use of telemedicine in psychiatry

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2006 Dec;13(6):771-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2006.01033.x.


This paper examines the potential effects of using video-conferencing within the field of mental health in the UK. In order to assess the usefulness of telepsychiatric services, an electronic search was conducted for articles published between August 1998 and July 2006 using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO and Telemedicine and Information Exchange (TIE) databases. The search was carried out using the following terms: telepsychiatry, videoconferencing and telepsychology. A total of 178 articles were identified and based on review of the abstracts 72 were identified as being specific to efficacy, cost-effectiveness and satisfaction with psychiatric services delivered via videoconferencing. This paper concludes that the use of video conferencing can enhance psychiatric services within the UK especially for those patients who live in rural areas. Current advances in technology make this an increasingly more reliable and cost-effective method for assessing patients. The limitations of telemedicine are discussed and it is clear that this type of care is not suitable for all patients. Further research is required to assess the types of patients that telepsychiatry is most suitable for.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychiatry / ethics
  • Psychiatry / organization & administration*
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • Telemedicine / ethics
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • United Kingdom
  • Videoconferencing / ethics
  • Videoconferencing / organization & administration*