Asynchronous Telepsychiatry Interviewer Training Recommendations: A Model for Interdisciplinary, Integrated Behavioral Health Care

Telemed J E Health. 2021 Sep;27(9):982-988. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2020.0076. Epub 2021 Jan 12.


Objective: Asynchronous telepsychiatry (ATP) is an integrative model of behavioral health service delivery that is applicable in a variety of settings and populations, particularly consultation in primary care. This article outlines the development of a training model for ATP clinician skills. Methods: Clinical and procedural training for ATP clinicians (n = 5) was provided by master's-level, clinical mental health providers developed by three experienced telepsychiatrists (P.Y. D.H., and J.S) and supervised by a tele-psychiatrist (PY, GX, DL) through seminar, case supervision, and case discussions. A training manual and one-on-one sessions were employed for initial training. Unstructured expert discussion and feedback sessions were conducted in the training phase of the study in year 1 and annually thereafter over the remaining 4 years of the study. The notes gathered during those sessions were synthesized into themes to gain a summary of the study telepsychiatrist training recommendations for ATP interviewers. Results: Expert feedback and discussion revealed three overarching themes of recommended skill sets for ATP interviewers: (1) comprehensive skills in brief psychiatric interviewing, (2) adequate knowledge base of behavioral health conditions and therapeutic techniques, and (3) clinical documentation, integrated care/consultation practices, and e-competency skill sets. The model of training and skill requirements from expert feedback sessions included these three skill sets. Technology training recommendations were also identified and included: (1) awareness of privacy/confidentiality for electronic data gathering, storage, management, and sharing; (2) technology troubleshooting; and (3) video filming/retrieval. Conclusions: We describe and provide a suggested training model for the use of ATP integrated behavioral health. The training needs for ATP clinicians were assessed on a limited convenience sample of experts and clinicians, and more rigorous studies of training for ATP and other technology-focused, behavioral health services are needed. Clinical Trials number: NCT03538860.

Keywords: asynchronous; education; primary care; telepsychiatry; training.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychiatry*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Technology
  • Telemedicine*

Associated data