Effectiveness of telepsychiatry : an integrative literature review
Rudolf, Jeri Nagel
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The aim of this integrative literature review was to evaluate the state of the science to determine if telepsychiatry, though the use of videoconferencing, was as effective as a face-to-face method of service delivery for the treatment of psychiatric-mental health disorders. Geographical isolation, lack of access to mental health care, a shortage of mental health prescribers, and stigma contribute significantly to mental health disparities. Access to mental health care has proven to be a significant barrier for many people including those living in rural areas, the incarcerated, military personnel, the homeless, the elderly, or individuals with health related issues affecting their mobility (Anthony, Mertz Nagel, & Goss, 2010). Telepsychiatry in health care is an emerging technology that offers the potential to reduce these service disparities. This literature review was organized and presented according to the methodology recommendations of Whittemore and Knafl (2005). Components of the research paper included are a presentation of the problem, literature review, a description of data analysis methods, presentation of findings, and discussion and summary. Seventeen primary research articles were evaluated comparing clinical outcomes using telepsychiatry to a more traditional, face-to-face method of intervention. Telepsychiatry in health care has been proven to reduce mental health disparities for the rural and underserved populations by increasing access to mental health care, but research regarding the effectiveness of this technology has been limited. Demonstrated effectiveness of telepsychiatry must be established if the goal of widespread implementation is to be realized.