The use of videoconferencing with patients with psychosis: a review of the literature

Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Apr 18;10(1):14. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-10-14.


Videoconferencing has become an increasingly viable tool in psychiatry, with a growing body of literature on its use with a range of patient populations. A number of factors make it particularly well suited for patients with psychosis. For example, patients living in remote or underserved areas can be seen by a specialist without need for travel. However, the hallmark symptoms of psychotic disorders might lead one to question the feasibility of videoconferencing with these patients. For example, does videoconferencing exacerbate delusions, such as paranoia or delusions of reference? Are acutely psychotic patients willing to be interviewed remotely by videoconferencing? To address these and other issues, we conducted an extensive review of Medline, PsychINFO, and the Telemedicine Information Exchange databases for literature on videoconferencing and psychosis. Findings generally indicated that assessment and treatment via videoconferencing is equivalent to in person and is tolerated and well accepted. There is little evidence that patients with psychosis have difficulty with videoconferencing or experience any exacerbation of symptoms; in fact, there is some evidence to suggest that the distance afforded can be a positive factor. The results of two large clinical trials support the reliability and effectiveness of centralized remote assessment of patients with schizophrenia.