Reliability and acceptability of psychiatric diagnosis via telecommunication and audiovisual technology

Psychiatr Serv. 1998 Aug;49(8):1086-8. doi: 10.1176/ps.49.8.1086.


The reliability of psychiatric diagnoses made remotely by telecommunication was examined. Two trained interviewers each interviewed the same 30 psychiatric inpatients using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Fifteen subjects had two in-person interviews, and 15 subjects had one in-person and one remote interview via telecommunication. Interrater reliability was calculated for the four most common diagnoses: major depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, and alcohol dependence. For each diagnosis, interrater reliability (kappa statistic) was identical or almost identical for the patients who had two in-person interviews and those who had an in-person and a remote interview, suggesting that reliable psychiatric diagnoses can be made via telecommunication.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Telemedicine*