Pilot studies of telemedicine for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;152(9):1383-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.152.9.1383.


Objective: Remote video psychiatric assessment holds promise for providing expert consultation to underserved areas. The authors assessed the reliability of rating scales administered in person and over video to patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Method: Rating scales for obsessive-compulsive, depressive, and anxiety symptoms were administered in person (N = 16) and by means of narrow-bandwidth video transmission over one digital telephone line (N = 10). Interrater reliability was determined for each condition; for the video interviews one rater sat at the local site in front of the videoconsulting apparatus and asked the questions, and the patient and the second rater sat at the remote site.

Results: Reliability was excellent in both conditions, and there was no degradation in reliability when the assessment was conducted over video.

Conclusions: Telemedicine resulted in near-perfect interrater agreement on rating scale scores. Its use for other disorders and for more in-depth assessments should be explored.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales* / standards
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales* / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine*
  • Telephone
  • Television