Evaluating provider opinion of telepsychiatry
Brannen, Hilary Jane
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Telepsychiatry, or two-way video conferencing for psychiatric purposes, has been around for the last 60 years. However, full implementation of its usage has stalled. Research has shown that clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction are equivalent to or superior when utilizing telepsychiatry, but provider satisfaction is lower. The aim of this project was to initially survey medication providers of psychiatric services at a statewide community mental health center in Montana to determine barriers that may exist to implementation and then provide education to determine whether that would impact their overall opinion of the modality. However, during the time between initial survey and follow-up survey, the COVID-19 global pandemic occurred and forced all providers to utilize telepsychiatry exclusively to continue providing care. This driving force of change allowed for the providers to increase their overall opinion of the feasibility, benefit, and confidence and belief in the modality. Continued challenges were noted but an overall increase of knowledge about telepsychiatry was also found. These findings are encouraging for increasing utilization of telepsychiatry by providers to provide access to mental health services in more rural and underserved communities.