Provider barriers to telemental health: obstacles overcome, obstacles remaining

Telemed J E Health. 2013 Jun;19(6):433-7. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2013.0068. Epub 2013 Apr 16.


Many providers are hesitant to use telemental health technologies. When providers are queried, various barriers are presented, such as the clinician's skepticism about the effectiveness of telemental health (TMH), viewing telehealth technologies as inconvenient, or reporting difficulties with medical reimbursement. Provider support for TMH is critical to its diffusion because clinicians often serve as the initial gatekeepers to telehealth implementation and program success. In this article, we address provider concerns in three broad domains: (1) personal barriers, (2) clinical workflow and technology barriers, and (3) licensure, credentialing, and reimbursement barriers. We found evidence that, although many barriers have been discussed in the literature for years, advancements in TMH have rapidly reduced obstacles for its use. Improvements include extensive opportunities for training, a growing evidence base supporting positive TMH outcomes, and transformations in technologies that improve provider convenience and transmission quality. Recommendations for further change are discussed within each domain. In particular, it is important to grow and disseminate data underscoring the promise and effectiveness of TMH, integrate videoconferencing capabilities into electronic medical record platforms, expand TMH reimbursement, and modify licensure standards.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement
  • Licensure
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Psychiatry
  • Telemedicine*
  • United States