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Using technology to deliver mental health services to children and youth in Ontario Prepared by

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Using technology to deliver mental health
services to children and youth in Ontario
October 2013
Prepared by:
Katherine M. Boydell
Michael Hodgins
Antonio Pignatiello
Helen Edwards
John Teshima
David Willis
www.excellenceforchildandyouth.ca
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Prepared by:
Katherine M. Boydell, MHSc, PhD
Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Michael Hodgins, BEd
Research Coordinator, Community Health Systems Resource Group, The Hospital for Sick Children
Antonio Pignatiello, MD, FRCP(C)
Associate Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Medical Director, TeleLink Mental Health Program,
The Hospital for Sick Children
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Helen Edwards, RN, BA, MN
Director, Clinical Informatics and Technology Nursing, The Hospital for Sick Children
John Teshima, BSc, MD, FRCP(C), MEd
Staff Psychiatrist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
David Willis, MBA
Clinical Manager, Tele-Link Mental Health Program and The Ontario Child and Youth Telepsychiatry Program
Acknowledgements
This paper was initiated by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. It was developed in
collaboration by a team of practitioners and policy researchers to describe the use of technology in the delivery of
mental health services and supports to children and youth, and to provide a link between the research evidence and a
policy landscape that demands the efficient delivery of effective services.
We thank the policy and decision-makers who attended workshops, responded to e-mails and participated in individual
interviews. We thank as well the child and youth mental health agencies in Ontario and direct service providers who
contributed their practice experiences and information on their use of technology to our scan of the current landscape
in Ontario and beyond.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Main messages ................................................................................................................................................... 5
Executive summary ............................................................................................................................................. 6
Abstract ............................................................................................................................................................ 11
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................... 11
Goals and objectives ......................................................................................................................................... 11
Methods ........................................................................................................................................................... 12
Policy and decision-maker consultation methods ................................................................................................ 12
Literature review methods ................................................................................................................................. 13
Service scan methods ......................................................................................................................................... 14
Results .............................................................................................................................................................. 15
Results policy and decision-maker consultations .............................................................................................. 15
Best and promising practices.................................................................................................................................. 15
Myth busters, barriers and benefits ....................................................................................................................... 17
Perspectives on the use of technology (voting results) ......................................................................................... 18
Results literature review ................................................................................................................................. 19
Outcomes and client satisfaction ........................................................................................................................... 21
Preferences of young people.................................................................................................................................. 26
The technology ....................................................................................................................................................... 27
Cost issues .............................................................................................................................................................. 27
Barriers to using technology to deliver mental health services ............................................................................. 28
Research gaps ......................................................................................................................................................... 29
Results service scan ......................................................................................................................................... 30
Survey demographics ............................................................................................................................................. 30
The use of technology to deliver child and youth mental health services ............................................................. 30
Advantages to using technology to deliver child and youth mental health services ............................................. 33
Difficulties in using technology to deliver child and youth mental health services ............................................... 34
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Conclusions ....................................................................................................................................................... 36
References ........................................................................................................................................................ 40
Appendix I ........................................................................................................................................................ 51
Appendix II ....................................................................................................................................................... 52
Appendix III ...................................................................................................................................................... 53
Appendix IV ...................................................................................................................................................... 56
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MAIN MESSAGES
There is a worldwide increase in both the number of technologies used to deliver child and youth mental health (CYMH)
services, and in their use. Such technologies will likely continue to grow in importance and have the potential to
transform the CYMH sector.
Technology is viewed as a way to enhance access to mental health services for children, youth and their families.
Technology use is changing client-practitioner relationships and offers opportunities to empower clients. Technology can
enhance service integration and inter-professional collaboration.
Live interactive telephone and videoconferencing have a substantial history in delivering mental health services and
supports to children, youth and their parents and caregivers.
The evidence base in the field of tele-mental health is well established and demonstrates a high degree of
practitioner/user satisfaction, enhanced capacity of practitioners and families in rural communities, and overall
therapeutic success.
Evidence for e-mental health is emerging and to date demonstrates the potential to engage young people, and deliver
outcomes that are as good if not better than services as usual.
Existing services in Ontario have the capacity to make increased use of e-mental health as a vehicle for service delivery.
There is a strong need to address the outstanding issues and concerns related to privacy and confidentiality when using
e-mental health to deliver services and supports.
Substantial gaps exist in the evidence base underlying e-mental health programs, especially regarding mobile
applications. Much of what is currently available has not been evaluated.
A solid program of education and training in the use of particular technologies is needed for practitioners and
consumers. Real time, ongoing technical support is a best practice.
Ethical and regulatory guidelines or frameworks are required to keep pace with the emergence of new technologies.
Targeted knowledge exchange is essential to the demystification, uptake and integration of new service delivery
technologies. Government has been recognized as an enabler for local innovation in the use of technology.
Technology is changing more quickly than our ability to properly assess its application. Practice is moving ahead of
evidence, and opportunities for research are not fully realized.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Introduction
The Internet and other technologies have great potential for delivering mental health services to children, youth and
their families.1 The use of technologies such as mobile applications (apps), videoconferencing and Internet-based
cognitive-behavioural therapy is burgeoning and there is a critical need to take stock of the impact of this movement,
consider the advantages and difficulties associated with its use and develop strategies and policies to improve the
practice of technology-enabled mental health service delivery.
This policy paper:
provides an overview of the understandings and information needs of policy and decision-makers in Ontario
regarding the use of technology in child and youth mental health service delivery.
reviews the key literature in this area.
reports on a provincial service scan of current use, barriers and challenges.
presents evidence-informed recommendations for moving forward in this area.
By linking current research and relevant policy implications, this paper also provides a comprehensive picture of the
potential role that technology (both existing and emerging) can have in improving child and youth mental health (CYMH)
services in Ontario. There are promising implications if technology can be used to:
provide more accessible mental health services, including reduced wait lists and enhanced access to services in
under-served communities.
reduce barriers related to stigma.
support service delivery that is cost-effective and clinically effective.
Our focus is on technology being used in a therapeutic capacity, with an intervention component, although workflow,
waitlist management and other administrative approaches that address barriers are considered. Technology used for
other health topics, mental health literacy, education and training, or for the identification of community resources was
outside of the scope of this paper.
Goals and objectives
(1) To engage with policy and decision-makers to identify their perspectives on the use of technology in mental
health service provision for children and youth.
(2) To review the literature on the use of technology in mental health service provision for children and youth.
(3) To conduct a scan of child and youth serving mental health organizations in Ontario to identify their use and
perceptions of technology in mental health service provision for children and youth.
1 There are a multitude of terms used for delivering mental health services via videoconference (e.g. telemental health, telepsychiatry). The case is similar for services
delivered via Internet applications (e-health, e-mental health). Appendix 1 provides definitions of terms.
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(4) To provide policy recommendations founded on the best available research evidence and informed by current
practice in the field.
Policy and decision-maker consultations
Policy dialogues allow research evidence to be considered together with the perspectives, experiences and tacit
knowledge of those involved in, or affected by, future decisions about a high-priority issue (Lavis, Boyko, Oxman et al.,
2009). We hosted a face-to-face meeting with policy and decision-makers across interested sectors in Ontario2 to discuss
the relevance of proven and promising uses of technology in mental health service provision for children and youth. In
addition to this consultation meeting, we offered a variety of options to engage key stakeholders and ensure that they
had an opportunity to contribute to the process, including teleconference calls, interviews and e-mail invitations for
input and feedback.
Policy and decision-makers in the face-to-face workshop and interviews identified examples of different technologies
used in mental health service delivery. They highlighted the use of videoconferencing to provide psychiatric
consultations to mental health practitioners in rural communities and to provide direct mental health treatment to
young people. The use of telephone support and mobile applications were also identified. Policy and decision-makers
felt quite strongly overall that technology has the potential to impact CYMH service delivery, particularly in areas of early
identification and intervention. They discussed benefits such as enhanced accessibility and timeliness as well as the
youth-friendly, non-intimidating, and cost-saving nature of these technologies. Participants highlighted the lack of
research evidence in this area and stressed the opportunity and need to conduct research in this area to determine the
effectiveness of service provision via technology. Participants also noted that technology changes very quickly; the
research process is slow and policy change takes even longer. In certain cases, decisions must be made in the absence of
conclusive research evidence.
2Relevant Ministries included the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Youth Justice, as well as
stakeholders from the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Lawson Research Institute.
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Literature review
The literature review allowed us to identify what is working well that has applicability to the policy context in Ontario
and to identify the critical gaps in our knowledge base. More than 100 peer-reviewed articles were included in the
review. Most focus on the use of the Internet (n=59) and videoconferencing (n=42) and the remainder focus on the
telephone, mobile applications and other technologies.
The literature is permeated by findings that suggest videoconferencing can positively contribute to client outcomes and
improved quality of life. A number of critical factors are associated with the success of programs that use tele-video to
deliver mental health services to youth. They include the need for groundwork such as routine outreach visits, clear
parameters and guidelines, and education and training opportunities. Key personnel such as a central co-ordinator of
services, collaborating stakeholders, and a mental health champion are critical to success. Involving schools and local
health providers is important to ensure local uptake of recommendations. Service users and service providers both
report satisfaction with this technology, and it is an effective way to engage with children and youth.
Articles on online delivery of mental health services with features such as chat rooms, discussion boards, social
networking and interactive games suggest some form of moderated support is extremely important when delivering a
service online. Much of the literature supports the effectiveness of Internet-based programs for a variety of mental
health issues including: treatment and reduction of symptoms for child and adolescent anxiety and depression,
treatment of post-traumatic stress, depression prevention, assisting careers of young people with mental health issues
and reduction of symptoms for eating disorders. These studies all show that Internet-delivered therapy has equal or
greater efficacy when compared to face-to-face therapy.
Key highlights from conversations with policy and decision-makers
Technology can enhance access to services, help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems
and addictions, and reduce barriers to service in terms of geography, culture, time and ability to access
expertise.
Some individuals and communities continue to have difficulties accessing technology and this must be
addressed.
Policy makers are concerned about the impact on relationships with clients, the reliability of technology and
added workload for practitioners.
Education, training and exposure are critical elements to alleviate agency and practitioner fears about negative
impacts of technology.
Privacy and documentation issues will require legislation or regulations to keep up with the emergence of new
technology. Government and regulating bodies can provide clarity and direction.
Policy makers are worried that legal concerns might thwart efforts to provide services and support via new
technologies. Insurance coverage was also raised as an area requiring exploration, particularly clinical liability
and malpractice.
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Service scan
We conducted a service scan to identify existing programs/models with practice-based evidence that use technology to
deliver mental health services, with specific reference to practices and programs appropriate in the Ontario context. The
service scan included a survey distributed to 98 child- and youth-serving mental health organizations in Ontario, which
allowed us to identify enablers and barriers to using technology as well as best and promising practices. More than half
responded and results show that agencies are using a wide variety of technologies (e.g. videoconferencing, telephone
and Internet) in service delivery and support. Respondents believed that their use of technology allowed for increased
accessibility, is often preferred by children and youth and offers a cost savings. In terms of drawbacks, respondents
identified confidentiality and privacy issues, technology and equipment challenges, the need to develop a therapeutic
relationship that isn’t possible in the same way as in a face-to-face interaction, and cost issues related to acquiring and
maintaining equipment.
Conclusion
Moving on Mental Health: a system that makes sense for children and youth lays out an exciting path forward for
the child and youth mental health sector, and service options that include technology will be essential for all
communities in Ontario. The province's child and youth telepsychiatry program shows that Ontario is a leader in using
technology to provide enhanced access to effective mental health services for children and youth. System transition
is an ideal opportunity to take advantage of existing and emerging technologies to provide effective, efficient, engaging,
and client-centred interventions for children, youth and families across Ontario.
Based on our review of research literature along with discussions with policy makers and direct service providers, we
conclude that there is a critical need to integrate technological delivery of CYMH services and supports into mental
health policy planning. There is a strong case for videoconferencing and e-mental health as priority areas given their
potential in the delivery of mental health services. The Internet will play a major role in the future delivery of programs
aimed at increasing community awareness and in providing prevention, assessment, diagnosis, counselling and
treatment programs. Ontario is encouraged to develop leading policies in tele-mental and e-mental health by using and
building on positive findings from the field.
The central implications for practice, policy and research are drawn from the three-pronged process used in this project
consultations with decision makers and key informants, a review of the literature, and a service scan of mental health
agencies in Ontario. Based on input from stakeholders and key findings from the research literature, we suggest policy
and decision-makers:
1. Engage in provincial policy development focused on developing standards of practice and specific guidelines for
developing and sustaining the use of technology to deliver CYMH services.
2. Support systematic evaluation and research on the process of delivery as well as relevant outcomes, from both
service user and service provider perspectives.
3. Focus on knowledge mobilization to promote the availability and accessibility of CYMH services provided
through technology, particularly in under-served communities.
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4. Develop educational and training requirements for the provision of services through technological modalities,
as well as their use.
5. Facilitate access to new and enhanced technologies as they emerge.
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ABSTRACT
The Internet and other technologies have great potential to deliver mental health services to children, youth and their
families. The use of such technologies is burgeoning and there is a critical need to take stock of the impact of this
movement, to consider the advantages and difficulties associated with its use and to develop strategies and policies to
improve the practice of technology-enabled mental health service delivery. This paper provides an overview of feedback
from policy and decision-makers in Ontario regarding the use of technology in child and youth mental health service
delivery, reviews the key literature in this area, and reports on a provincial service scan of current use, barriers and
challenges. It concludes with policy-ready recommendations for moving forward in the field.
INTRODUCTION
The use of technology and other emerging media in service provision represent promising approaches and have
particular relevance to practice in Ontario (The Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres, 2010).
This policy ready paper summarizes the link between the research and policy implications and provides a comprehensive
picture of the potential role that technology (both existing and emerging) can have in improving mental health services
in Ontario. There are promising policy and practice implications if technology can be used to provide more accessible
mental health services including reduced wait lists, enhanced access to services in under-served communities, reduced
barriers related to stigma, and service delivery that is cost-effective and clinically effective.
The focus is on technology used in a therapeutic capacity, with an intervention component, although workflow or
waitlist management or other administrative approaches that also address barriers are considered. Although important
and emerging, technology used for other health topics, mental health literacy, education and training, or for the
identification of community resources was outside of the scope of this paper.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
(1) To engage with policy and decision-makers to identify their perspectives on the use of technology in mental
health service provision for children and youth.
(2) To conduct a review of the literature on the use of technology in mental health service provision for children
and youth.
(3) To conduct a scan of child and youth serving mental health organizations in Ontario to identify their use of
technology in mental health service provision for children and youth.
(4) To provide policy-ready recommendations founded on the best available research evidence and informed by
current practice in the field.
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METHODS
Policy and decision-maker consultation methods
Policy dialogues allow research evidence to be considered together with the perspectives, experiences and tacit
knowledge of those involved in, or affected by, future decisions about a high-priority issue (Lavis, Boyko, Oxman et al.,
2009). A number of factors have influenced the increased interest in using policy dialogues including the recognition
that:
Policy and decision-makers and other stakeholders benefit from locally contextualised 'decision support'
Research evidence is only one element of the decision-making processes of policy and decision-makers and
other stakeholders
A variety of stakeholders can add significant value to decision making processes
Stakeholders, not just policy and decision-makers, can inform decisions on high-priority issues.
Consequently, we borrowed from the work of Lavis and his colleagues (2009) to engage in policy dialogues for the
purposes of this paper.
Engaging with policy and decision-makers
We convened a face-to-face meeting with policy and decision-makers across relevant sectors in Ontario, including the
Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and Youth
Justice. Stakeholders from the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health, and Lawson Research Institute were also included given their provincial roles in supporting the CYMH
sector. Together, this group discussed the relevance of proven and promising uses of technology in mental health
service provision for children and youth to current policy considerations (Appendix II). We used a participatory
methodology with attendees to discuss the uses of technology in mental health service provision for children and youth
in Ontario and identify priorities and challenges in supporting this use.
Because we recognized the difficulties with respect to policy and decision-makers’ ability to meet face-to-face, we
offered a wide variety of alternate options to engage these key stakeholders and ensure that they had an opportunity to
contribute to the process. In addition to the engagement meeting we held teleconference calls, interviews and gathered
electronic feedback from additional policy and decision-makers.
The goal of engaging with policy and decision-makers was to collect their input on the relevance of this topic, their
experiences in technology-enabled service delivery, the questions they identify as important to address, and the types of
recommendations that would be useful. These conversations also served to identify the services/organizations and key
informants to include in the service scan.
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Literature review methods
The scope of the peer-reviewed and grey literature review focused on identifying evidence-informed uses of technology
for mental health service provision. The technologies covered include videoconferencing (e.g. telepsychiatry,
telepsychology, tele-mental health nursing), telephone support, web and computer-based interventions, mobile phone
applications/interventions, and social networking. The search also identified innovative uses of technology shown to be
effective in helping children, youth and their families in under-served and challenging contexts, and that provide direct
intervention, therapy or support.
Literature review strategy
The review was initially broad in its scope and range. Keywords were selected to reflect the scope of the work,
specifically to identify literature related to telepsychiatry, telepsychology, telemental health nursing as well as
telephone, online and other technologies such as mobile applications. The literature search focused on accessing both
published material and grey literature related to the topics and issues identified by the lead consulting group, the
Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and feedback from policy representatives.
Searches were conducted with the following database search engines: PsycINFO, EMBASE, and Ovid MEDLINE. The list of
criteria for review and search terms was developed with our policy stakeholder group, investigative team, and librarian.
To begin, search terms were used and the names of key authors/academic institutions in the field of use of technology in
mental health service delivery for children and youth were searched for. Relevant articles from reference lists of other
articles were retrieved and subsequently reviewed. Hand searches of relevant journals were also conducted for relevant
articles, published from 2000 onwards. From these, article titles were first scanned and then a sub-set of abstracts were
read to ascertain if the article was relevant. After these exercises were completed, we identified articles deemed
relevant and the full articles were obtained and included in the review. All citations were entered into RefWorks
software program to manage references. See Tables 1 to 11 in Appendix IV for an annotated bibliography.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Articles were included if they were published in peer-reviewed journals dating from 2000 onwards and were in the
English language. Articles were excluded if they were published in peer-reviewed journal articles before 2000, were
letters to the editor, dissertations, or articles that focused on technologies used to deliver mental health services to
adults, or to deliver mental health information, education and training.
Identifying grey literature
Beyond the conventional route of peer-review, there is a vast accumulation of grey literature conference reports,
technical notes, institutional papers, various articles written for specific entities that enter into general circulation
without peer-review. Grey literature can often be the first and only source of effectiveness evidence on a public health
issue (Dobbins & Robeson, 2006). While a formal publication may follow later, in many cases this evidence is never made
available to the broad public health audience. Our work in this area was guided by The literature review process:
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Recommendations for researchers developed by the Thames Valley Literature Review Standards Group in the UK.3
Review of the grey literature indicated that most monographs were later published in peer-reviewed articles by the
research team and did not contribute any new information to the review.
Analysis of the literature: central themes
The literature review allowed us to identify what is working well that has applicability to the policy and practice context
in Ontario as well as to identify the gaps in our knowledge base. We identified the central themes arising out of the
literature review using the guidelines described by Braun and Clarke (2006). Specifically, a process of thematic content
analysis was used, i.e. recording particular aspects of the use of technology in the delivery of mental health care. Articles
were read in full, annotated, and entered into a table format using a standard data extraction form according to a
number of key characteristics, including: the type of technology, author(s) and journal, country, the service/treatment
delivered, details about method/design, subjects/participants, key issues or outcomes addressed and gaps in the extant
knowledge base.
Service scan methods
We conducted a service scan to identify existing programs/models with practice-based evidence that use technology to
deliver mental health services, with specific reference to practices and programs appropriate for the Ontario context.
The service scan allowed us to identify enablers and barriers to using technology as well as best and promising practices.
The service scan involved an electronic survey (using SurveyMonkey), distributed to 1164 child and youth mental health
agencies and hospital-based children’s clinics in Ontario. The survey was supplemented by key informant telephone
interviews with individuals in these identified agencies/organizations plus those at Children’s Mental Health Ontario
(CMHO), the Offord Centre for Child Studies, and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.
3http://www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/research/researchers/news/documents/LiteratureSearchingGuidelinesChecklist.pdf
4Eighteen of these were undeliverable, leaving 98 surveys successfully distributed.
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Other key stakeholders were identified via a snowball sampling process (Barwick, Boydell, Stasiulis et al., 2005). We also
scanned other Canadian, American, British and Australian contexts, as they are key users of technologies.
RESULTS
Resultspolicy and decision-maker consultations5
The consultation process involved several activities:
(1) sharing best experiences on the use of technology in child and youth mental health service delivery
(2) discussing barriers and enablers to the use of technology
(3) establishing priorities regarding the use of technology in mental health service delivery.
In terms of knowledge of best and promising practices in the field, a wide variety of program and service exemplars
were discussed including online and telephone counselling for children and youth, telephone support provided to
families by non-professionals, televideo counselling to children, youth, families and practitioners in rural areas, and
mobile applications that allow young people to track their moods. Participants6 were able to provide rich descriptions of
these services and the key informants to contact to find out more about them.
Best and promising practices
Policy and decision-makers in the face-to-face workshop and interviews engaged in a discussion about their knowledge
and perceptions of current best and promising practices in the use of technology for mental health service delivery. The
majority of participants in this process identified examples of videoconferencing to provide psychiatric consultations to
mental health practitioners in rural and underserved communities and to provide direct mental health treatment to
young people. The use of telephone support and mobile applications were also highlighted. Participants mentioned the
enhanced accessibility, timeliness and the youth-friendly, non-intimidating, engaging, participatory and cost-saving
nature of these technologies. They also discussed the need to be aware of the possibility of providing too much
information using social media.
Participants identified what they considered to be some exemplars of how technology has been used to provide direct
services in Ontario, outlined below. Exemplars 1 and 3 have been evaluated and have a solid evidence base. Exemplar 4
has a comprehensive evaluation protocol in place and Exemplar 2 is a promising practice that has been evaluated in
Australia and is currently being evaluated in Ontario.
5Note: Policy and decision-makers involved in the consultation process are not experts in the field of technology.
6 See Appendix II for list of stakeholders attending face-to-face workshop and participating in individual interviews.
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Myth busters, barriers and benefits
Policy and decision-makers were asked to respond to a series of potential myths regarding the evidence-base, access,
quality of care, human resources and legal aspects of using technology for mental health service provision. The purpose
of this exercise was to stimulate discussion of the benefits and barriers to using technology in service delivery.
Myth #1: E-health websites that offer direct professional care to clients are causing harm because there is a lack of
research establishing the safety or efficacy of their approaches
Participants agreed that there is lack of research in this area but were confident that there is little evidence suggesting
that e-health websites are causing harm. More evidence is required. An opportunity and need to conduct research in
this area to determine the reliability of websites was stressed. They also identified an opportunity for democratization of
information via open sharing between different communities. There was recognition of multiple sources of information,
not just evidence published in medical journals. Two-way communication was highlighted with the notion that health
professionals also learn from their patients. It was noted that while technology changes very quickly, research
methodology is slow, and policy change takes even longer. Decisions, then, are not always rooted in the latest research
evidence.
“Government needs to be an enabler for local innovation in the use of technology. They need
to support low cost innovation and evaluate those innovations, recognizing that not everything
requires a randomized controlled trial.”
Myth #2: Technology will just create another roadblock and make access issues worse
All participants disagreed with this statement and indicated that technology is the solution rather than the problem in
terms of enhancing access. Technology was viewed as enhancing access to services when they are needed, providing a
more anonymous environment that helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and addictions, and
eliminating barriers to service in terms of geography, culture, time and expertise. According to one participant,
“Virtual services provide a safe, accessible and less stigmatizing forum for young people
experiencing mental health issues.”
Myth #3: Service providers don’t have the confidence or skills to use technology. Many think they will lose their jobs
because of technology
This statement was endorsed by just over half of the participants, who acknowledged the difficulties associated with
change particularly for older practitioners who may be less familiar with new technologies. They identified concerns
about the impact on relationships with clients, the reliability of the technology and added workload. A need for
education, training, change management and exposure were discussed as critical elements to alleviate these fears.
“We need to enable older practitioners to increase their comfort with technologies. A solid
program of training and education is required for all practitioners.”
Myth #4: Technology is so impersonal; it gets in the way of providing the best care
All respondents disagreed with this statement and noted that technology is redefining how personal is defined.
Technology is a medium that can be just as personal, depending on client preference. They were unanimous in their
belief that it is a good option when services and supports cannot be provided in person and felt that technology
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increases access to culturally appropriate and specialist services and reduces the need for hospitalization. Consequently,
individuals remain in their own local community and do not need to travel long distances to obtain services and
supports. They also added that young people have a healthy attitude towards using technology and some open up with
more distance. Technology as an enabler for better communication between health care providers leading to better care
for clients was also identified. Participants felt strongly that young people should be engaged in the process.
We really need a discussion group like today's session with young people and their parents to
talk about their views on the various uses of technology.”
Myth #5: Health care professionals are putting themselves at risk because they do not have legal protection for
themselves or their clients
Respondents were equally split in terms of their agreement with this statement. Some felt that privacy and
documentation issues require legislation or regulations to keep up with some of the barriers to using technology. Thus, a
strong need was identified for government and regulatory bodies to provide clarity and direction in this area.7 At the
same time, decision-makers were worried that legal concerns might thwart efforts to provide services and supports via
new technologies. Insurance coverage was also raised as an area requiring exploration, particularly clinical liability and
malpractice.
“We need to know what guidelines currently exist, if any, whether they apply, and ensure that
they are properly disseminated and followed.”
Myth #6: We all use different technology platforms; it is impossible to use technology to integrate services
All disagreed with this statement and indicated that, in fact, it is precisely the opposite; technology was viewed
as allowing individuals with varied expertise to come together. There are many platforms but with some
coordination it was felt that a solution for information sharing (data standards, consolidation platforms, etc.)
was possible and that there was a need for acting sooner rather than later.
“Integrating technology is actually driving services integration in many cases. Technology
centres are often used to drive inter-professional collaboration.
Perspectives on the use of technology (voting results)
We used an electronic voting system to gather policy and decision-makers ratings on the potential of technology to
enhance child and youth mental health service delivery in a number of areas (Table 1). Policy and decision-makers felt
quite strongly overall that technology has the potential to impact child and youth mental health service delivery,
particularly in areas of early identification and intervention.
7 Policies and positions on privacy and confidentiality of information exist in every institution, including the Ontario Telemedicine Network, The College of Physicians
and Surgeons of Ontario, the Canadian Medical Protective Association etc. and are publicly available on their respective websites. Essentially, personal health
information is to be treated the same regardless of where it occurs paper, electronically, digitally, etc. The Canadian Medical Association has developed guidelines
and rules for social engagement for members using social media (http://www.cma.ca/advocacy/social-media-canadadian-phsysicians)
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Table 1: Potential of technology to enhance child and youth mental health (n=16)
Child and youth mental health area Disagree/strongly
disagree (%) Neutral (%) Agree/strongly agree (%)
Prevention
6.7
13.3
80.0
Early identification -- -- 100.0
Effective intervention
--
--
100.0
Integration (within mental health) -- 21.4 78.6
Integration (mental health & other
sectors)
--
15.4
84.6
Transitions (youth to adult)
--
21.4
78.6
The following quote from the face-to-face workshop reflects the general feeling on the part of policy and decision-
makers present:
“Every mental health professional resource/expert should be viewed as a provincial resource and
we should be able to access their services from anywhere. Providers should be providing service
to any provincial patient (face to face or virtual patients) - a virtual patient should be treated the
same as a regular face to face patient.”
Results literature review
We reviewed 125 peer-reviewed articles (Figure 1) and observed that overall satisfaction and a range of positive
outcomes (reduced symptomatology, enhanced access to care, etc.), preferences of young people, and cost savings are
significant motives for using technologies to deliver mental health services. Findings suggest that using various
technologies contribute to increased access to care, enhanced practitioner capacity, positive patient and family
outcomes and improved quality of life.
We organized our findings in the following thematic categories:
positive outcomes and client satisfaction
preferences of young people
technology
cost
barriers
research gaps
Each category has a summary of the relevant research on particular technologies, and findings in that category. A full
listing of the 125articles is provided in Appendix IV. The number of articles found that satisfied inclusion criteria
illustrates the degree of research on each technology, and why there is greater evidence for some technologies in
particular themes:
Televideo conferencing (n=42) Mobile phone/SMS (n=5)
Telephone (n=8) The Internet (n=59)
E-mail (n=7) CD-ROM (n=4)
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Figure 1: Search strategy
October 2013
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Outcomes and client satisfaction
The 42 studies reviewed on videoconferencing include many positive assessments of satisfaction among practitioners,
families and youth. For instance, a 10-year review of a telepsychiatry service found a high level of general satisfaction
(Starling & Foley, 2006). Parents noted high satisfaction with their child’s telepsychiatric care (Myers, Valentine &
Melzer, 2008) and a study involving rural families found parents rated the telepsychiatry service very highly (Starling,
Rosina, Nunn et al., 2003).
A study involving families involved with child welfare services found the quality and acceptance of telepsychiatry was
comparable to face-to-face service provision (Keilman, 2005). Referring providers have been highly satisfied (Myers,
Valentine & Melzer, 2008) and it has enhanced their capacity to deal with complex mental health issues (Greenberg,
Boydell & Volpe, 2006). Rural health care workers, young people and their caregivers give the technology itself high
satisfaction ratings (Koppel, Nunn & Dossetor, 2001).
Service exemplar: The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is one of the largest telemedicine
networks in the world. OTN uses a two-way videoconference technology so that patients can
access a specialist anywhere in Ontario, in a timely manner. One of the health services in place is
the provision of mental health care through consultation via videoconferencing. The network
enables access to care for more than 100,000 mental health and addiction patients annually and
provides video connections for the Virtual Emergency Room, a service for children and youth up
to 17 years of age, who require a further in-depth consultation by a child/youth mental health
specialist not available at the presenting emergency department.
Research has also found that telepsychiatry can achieve good clinical outcomes for children and youth. A randomized
control trial (RCT) of psychiatric assessments found that diagnoses and treatment recommendations made by child
psychiatrists via telemedicine or face-to-face interviews were similar 96% of the time (Elford, White, Bowering et al.,
2000). Another RCT using cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) as an intervention for children with depression found that
treatment via videoconference was as effective as face-to-face therapy and parents and children preferred
videoconference over face-to-face therapy (Nelson, Barnard & Cain, 2003).
Service exemplar: Kansas University Medical Center’s TeleKidcare® evaluated an 8-week,
cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention for childhood depression either face-to-face or
over videoconferencing. The study met the central definition of success decreasing symptoms
of childhood depression over videoconferencing at rates comparable to face-to-face. Based on
the study analyses, the videoconferencing and face-to-face groups had no significant difference
at randomization. The CBT treatment across both delivery methods was effective in decreasing
depression. Youth, parents and clinicians were extremely satisfied with the videoconferencing
method of service delivery. (Nelson, Barnard & Cain, 2003; 2006)
Pesamaa and colleagues (2004) reported successful skill implementation via telemedicine and 82% remission from
depression post-treatment. In a youth justice setting, 80% of incarcerated youth were successfully prescribed
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medications, leading to improved mental health status (Myers, Valentien, Morganthaler et al., 2006). The same study
showed that youth were confident in their psychiatrist’s recommendations, although they also raised concern about
privacy issues.
Successful outcomes have been reported in other studies of videoconferencing, many drawing upon case study
methods. Alessi (2003) documented success in properly diagnosing the case of a 15 year old and the positive
relationship that the therapist and client formed that contributed to service success. Miller and colleagues (2002)
showed the effectiveness of telepsychiatry for a young boy in a rural school, and Savin and colleagues (2006) found that
telepsychiatry enabled access to services otherwise unavailable to American Indians, with high patient and provider
satisfaction and costs similar face-to-face consultation.
Pakyurek and colleagues (2010) used five examples to illustrate that telepsychiatry could be superior to face-to-face
services as a psychiatric assessment and consultation process. Factors that contributed to success included the novelty
of the consultation and adolescents experiencing the service as exciting. Some adolescents felt that the interaction was
more visual, video-game like and less threatening. It also enhanced their ability to provide direction and they liked the
sense of extra distance (psychological and physical) and the perceived authenticity of the interaction.
Service exemplar: The TeleLink Mental Health Program at The Hospital for Sick Children in
Toronto offers a comprehensive, collaborative model of enhancing local community systems of
care in rural and remote Ontario using videoconferencing. With a focus on clinical consultation,
collaborative care, education and training, evaluation and research, ready access to pediatric
psychiatrists and other specialist mental health service providers can effectively extend the
boundaries of the medical home. The program has incorporated an evaluative component with a
Knowledge-to-Action framework that emphasizes feedback to enhance program impact. This
research program has focused on developing an evaluation framework for pediatric
telepsychiatry, studied service provider and family impact, highlighted the perspectives of young
people, and examined longitudinally the uptake of recommendations provided in consultations.
(Boydell, Volpe, Kertes et al., 2007; Boydell, Pignatiello & Volpe, 2010; Pignatiello, Boydell, Tehsima et al., 2010)
A series of six case studies using WebCam as a therapeutic tool showed its applicability in allowing communication
between therapists and clients (Cheblowski & Fremont, 2011). One case study of a rural Hispanic youth found
therapeutic success and resulted in expanding the videoconferencing practice to enable access for other clients (Nelson
& Bui, 2010).Three high school students expressed that they preferred videoconferencing to all other forms of service
delivery in a qualitative study (Bischoff, Hollist, Smith et al., 2004).
A systematic review concluded that practitioners can have positive experiences with videoconferencing, saving time,
cost and improving service quality (Pesamaa, Ebeling, Kuusamaki et al., 2004). There is evidence that videoconference
can enhance the capacity of rural practitioners and reduce their sense of professional isolation (Gelber, 2001;
Greenberg, Boydell & Volpe, 2006; Pignatiello, Boydell, Teshima et al., 2010) while improving the distribution of clinical
expertise (Pignatiello, Boydell, Teshima et al., 2010). Mental health clinicians have reported that videoconferencing
increased their knowledge and skills and strengthened relationships with colleagues (Gelber, 2001) and they tend to be
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23
satisfied with mental health service delivery using videoconferencing technologies (Greenberg, Boydell & Volpe, 2006;
Koppel, Nunn, Dossetor et al., 2001; Savin, Garry, Zuccaro et al., 2006).
In terms of access to services, there is evidence that telepsychiatry enhances access to mental health care in general and
to specialty care for practitioners and to mental health services for children, young people and their families (Spaulding,
Belz, Delurgio et al., 2010). One study involving rural primary care providers found that telepsychiatry allowed them to
see more patients (Hilty, Yellowlees & Nesbitt, 2006).
The research also shows that services provided through the Internet can achieve good client outcomes, particularly for
providing cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to address anxiety issues. Young people participate actively, most comply
with session schedules and they form an effective therapeutic alliance (Spence, Donovan, March et al., 2011). March et
al. (2009) demonstrated that at post-treatment assessment, children in an Internet treatment group had small but
significantly greater reductions in anxiety symptoms and increases in functioning than wait-list participants. These
improvements were enhanced during the six-month follow-up period, with 75% of the children who received Internet
services free of their primary diagnosis.
Other studies support the success of Internet based programs for treatment and reduction of symptoms for anxiety and
depression (Calear & Christensen, 2010; Grover, Naumann, Mohammaddar et al., 2011; O’Kearney, Kang, Christensen et
al., 2009; Seth, Campbell & Ellis, 2010; Stephens-Reicher, Metcalf, Blanchard et al., 2011), treatment of posttraumatic
stress (Lange, van de Ven, Schrieken et al., 2001), depression prevention (van Voorhees, Vanderplough-Booth, Fogel et
al., 2008), assisting caregivers (Jang, Dixon, Tarbox et al., 2012; van Voorhees, Vanderplough-Booth, Fogel et al., 2008;
Currie, McGrath & Day, 2010], and reducing eating disorder symptoms (Grover, Naumann, Mohammaddar et al., 2011).
Service exemplar: MoodGYM is a website developed by the Australian National University Centre
for Mental Health Research. It provides a free online self-directed CBT program for depression to
prevent adolescent anxiety and depression and using modules to directly address symptoms. It
has nearly 700,000 registered users and has been translated into Chinese, Dutch and Norwegian.
MoodGYM has been evaluated in scientific trials, which indicate that use of two or more modules
by users is associated with significant reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms. These
reductions have been sustained after 12 months.
The YouthMood project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of MoodGYM in preventing
depression and increasing resilience skills in youth aged 15-16 years. Three randomized trials
comparing MoodGYM with routine health class participation and wait list controls found that
male participants receiving the intervention had reduced depressive symptoms compared to
wait-list controls immediately post-intervention and at a six-month follow-up. However, the
reduced depressive symptoms were not found in females receiving the intervention. (Calear,
Christensen, Mackinnon et al., 2009; Calear & Christensen, 2010)
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Technology to deliver mental health services
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Service exemplar: SPARX (Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts) is an interactive
fantasy game that uses a computerized self-help, cognitive-behavioural therapy intervention for
adolescents seeking help for depression. The program was developed by a team of specialists
from the University of Auckland to provide an intervention with wide appeal to young people in
New Zealand and elsewhere that is enjoyable, thus resulting in good adherence rates. Potential
benefits are the lower cost and the improved reach to young people who currently cannot access
help. A multi-centre randomized controlled non-inferiority trial was carried out with 187
adolescents aged 12-19 seeking help for depressive symptoms. Use of the program resulted in a
clinically significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness and an improvement in
quality of life. Results are impressive when considered that SPARX was entirely a self-help
resource, the only contact being with a clinician at recruitment. The only input from health
professionals during the course of treatment was a brief phone call after one month. The
intervention was at least as good as treatment as usual in primary healthcare sites and was
more effective than treatment as usual for those most depressed at the start. Adherence rates
were high. (Merry, Stasiak, Shepherd et al., 2012)
Similar to videoconferencing, one principle advantage of Internet based approaches is the opportunity to increase
access in rural communities (Heinicke, Paxton, Mclean et al., 2007). The Internet and videoconferencing both improve
capacity to provide services for more people and respond to the mental health needs of those who may not otherwise
receive treatment (Shandley, Austin, Klein et al., 2010; Currie, McGrath & Day, 2010). For providers, computer screening
reduces administration burden, scoring, and report writing (Diamond, Levy, Bevans et al., 2010).The Internet provides
availability 24/7 and allows clients to pause and continue a program, an assessment or treatment plan as they please
(Steenhuis, Serra, Mohammaddar et al., 2011).
Service exemplar: Master Your Mood (MYM) is an online prevention intervention that uses a
CBT-based group course for adolescents and young adults with depressive symptoms. The face-
to-face version (based on Lewinsohn’s Coping with Depression) of the Master Your Mood course
was adapted for use on the Internet.
Participants in a randomized control trial showed a larger reduction in depressive symptoms
compared to wait-list controls three months post-intervention, with reductions sustained at six
months. (Gerrits, van der Zanden, Visseher et al., 2007; van der Zanden, Kramer, Gerrits et al., 2012)
Six studies focusing on e-mail suggest it might be a viable alternative to face-to-face and telephone encounters for some
clients (Cartwright, Gibson, McDermott et al., 2005; Lyneham & Rapee, 2006). One potential benefit of using e-mail to
deliver services is that it gives clinicians increased frequency and amount of time available for contact with clients
(Mehta & Chalhoub, 2006). The frequency of e-mail interaction helps clients feel that the clinician is present, listening,
and thinking about them (Yager, 2003b). Much less clinician time is required for reading and responding to messages
than is required over the telephone (Yager, 2003a).
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Technology to deliver mental health services
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Research on Compact Disc Read-only Memory (CD-ROM) is limited to only four studies. This research found that
adolescents consider using CD-ROM in therapy acceptable (Cunningham, Wutherich, Rapee et al., 2009) and are
generally satisfied, finding the treatment process beneficial (Brosnan, Sharry & Fitzpatrick, 2005; Cunningham,
Wutherich, Rapee et al., 2009; Cunningham & Wutherich, 2008).) A randomized control trial supports the effectiveness
of CD-ROM delivered interventions (Wuthrich et al., 2012). Adolescents showed significant reductions in the number of
anxiety disorders, the severity of the primary anxiety disorder, and the average severity for all disorders compared with
those on the wait list (Cunningham & Wuthrich, 2008). Advantages to using CD ROMs include increased confidentiality,
reduced barriers resulting from stigma, cost effectiveness (reduced therapist time), convenience from not needing to
use time to travel to services, reaching those reluctant to make face-to-face contact, and broader service availability for
rural clients (Cunningham, Wuthrich, Rapee et al., 2009; Cunningham & Wuthrich, 2008).
Eight studies in our review focused on telephone counselling, mostly help lines. Several used pre-post measures to
compare telephone to online support (Fukkink & Hermanns, 2009; King, Babling, Reid et al., 2006). Counselling via
telephone can be effective and it is possible to form a strong therapeutic alliance, reduce stigmatization, and provide a
convenient way to access services for families, children and youth. All studies involving help lines found decreased
distress reported by clients.
Telephone help lines provide anonymity that is perceived as non-threatening support (Fukkink & Hermanns, 2009). A
comparison study found that single-session telephone support was superior to online counselling although both
achieved a significant reduction in distress (King, Babling, Reid et al., 2006). Similarly, pre-post and follow up of
telephone versus online chat for children with severe emotional problems documentedimproved well-being in both
treatment approaches (Fukkink & Hermanns, 2009; King, Babling, Reid et al., 2006). Telephone-based treatment has
resulted in significant diagnosis decreases among children with disruptive or anxiety disorders compared to face-to-face
treatment (Lingley-Pottie & McGrath, 2008; McGrath, Lingley-Pottie, Thurston et al., 2011), and telephone support can
help to reduce suicidality and improve mental state (King, Nurcombe, Bickman et al., 2003). In one study, a 16-session
telephone CBT intervention reduced obsessive-compulsive syndrome symptoms in young people (Turner & Heyman,
2009).
Service exemplar: Strongest Families is a psychologically informed 12-week distance education
program which provides support to families of children from ages 3 to 12 over the phone and Internet in
the privacy of their own home. It focuses on treating the most common child mental health disorders
anxiety and disruptive behaviour. Non-professional coaches are trained to deliver the service. Research
shows that clients form a strong therapeutic alliance with their telephone coach. Participants described
feeling comfortable and safe in their own home, did not feel stigmatized or judged, had little
apprehension about self-disclosure and felt that treatment was delivered at their convenience.
Compared with usual care, telephone-based treatments resulted in significant diagnosis decreases
among children with disruptive behaviour or anxiety. These interventions hold promise to increase
access to mental health services. Drop-out rates have been reduced to 10% from the usual 40-60
percent and Strongest Families costs less than one-third of conventional care. The program began in
Nova Scotia and has expanded to Ontario and British Columbia. (Lingley-Pottie & McGrath, 2006, 2008)
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We found five studies that focused on mobile phone applications (apps). They suggest that it is possible to use apps to
monitor symptoms and functioning in real time and allow for personalized early intervention and relapse prevention
(Reid, Kauer, Hearps et al., 2011; Whittaker, Merry, Stasiak et al., 2012). Apps can also be used to prompt users to
perform specific therapeutic tasks tailored to and contingent on individual needs (Trockel, Manber, Chang et al., 2011).
Mobile phone programs are ideally suited to early intervention programs for depression because they are used as an
immediate, portable, accessible and non-threatening self-monitoring tool (Kauer, Reid, Crooke et al., 2012) where
information is transmitted easily. Paediatricians have reported that apps assist in better understanding of patient
functioning and consequently a high percentage of their clients felt that their doctor understood them better (Reid,
Kauer, Khor et al., 2012).
Preferences of young people
In the videoconferencing literature, children aged 4 to 12 are very positive about videoconferencing and prefer a
‘television’ doctor to a ‘real’ doctor. Adolescents also prefer seeing a psychiatrist via videoconference rather than in
person (Elford, White, St. John et al., 2001; Elford, White, Bowering et al., 2000), and report that they feel a sense of
empowerment, find sessions are helpful, and report that interacting with the psychiatrist is positive (Boydell, Volpe &
Pignatiello, 2010). High school students appreciate the privacy the technology affords (Bischoff, Hollist, Smith et al.,
2004).
Qualitative research shows that adolescents and their families feel they are ‘spoken to, rather than at’ (Grealish, Hunter,
Glazez et al, 2005) when they participate in services provided through videoconferencing. Adolescents report that
telemedicine promotes a sense of power and control by allowing them to feel more comfortable about terminating the
consultation or walking out (Grealish, Hunter, Glazez et al, 2005). Also, the process can be more structured and
consequently they feel better informed, resulting in a better understanding, sense of shared responsibility and better
decision making (Grealish, Hunter, Glazez et al, 2005).
Social networking over the Internet is integral to the lives of many youth and young people tend to be very computer
literate (Gowen, Deschaine, Gruttadara et al., 2012; Christensen et al., 2011). Social networking and online interaction is
appealing due to its intuitive structure for young people to engage with each other and with a moderator (Gleeson,
Alvarez-Jimenez & Lederman, 2012). Anonymity is an important aspect of the technology that engages young people
(Pretorius, Rowlands, Ringwood et al., 2010; Richards, 2009) and youth are generally more open and confident when
online, providing more personal details because of the perceived distance between client and therapist (Burns, Morey,
Lagelee et al., 2007; Diamond, Levy, Bevans et al., 2010; Read, Farrow, Jaanimagi et al., 2009). University students are
likely to seek help online first, highlighting the importance of using the Internet to engage with youth in need (Radhu,
Daskalakis, Arpin-Cribbie et al., 2012).
Young people prefer an informal delivery format (Shandley, Austin, Klein et al., 2010) and have reported that completing
therapy and assessments online is easier than paper-and-pencil (Read, Farrow, Jaanimagi et al., 2009), with ease of
understanding and readability (Van Voorhees, Ellis, Stuart et al., 2005).Younger children and their parents have shown
high levels of compliance in completing Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy sessions for anxiety and associated
homework tasks (Spence, Holmes, March et al., 2006).
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Technology to deliver mental health services
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Young people who received a web-based intervention for bulimia nervosa or atypical bulimia appreciated the flexibility
and sense of control of online treatment (Pretorius, Rowlands, Ringwood et al., 2010). Participants in a study using
online sessions to reduce anxiety rated it as interesting and engaging and said that it stimulated motivation and
facilitated learning (March et al, 2009). Research shows that it is possible to develop a comprehensive program of
engagement and motivation using online service delivery, and it may enhance participation (Landback, Prochaska, Ellis
et al., 2009). Young people feel empowered by using e-mail and readily engage in use of this medium (Mehta &
Chalhoub, 2006) and they also respond positively to the multimedia aspects of CD-ROM (Brosnan, Sharry & Fitzpatrick,
2005; Cunningham, Wuthrich, Rapee et al., 2009).
The technology
High quality audio is one of the most important factors that influences caretaker and psychiatrist satisfaction with
videoconferencing (Elford, White, Bowering et al., 2000).Technical quality issues, referred to as “growing pains”, have
essentially disappeared from the literature with refinement of videoconferencing technology and as practitioners have
become more comfortable and accepting of new technologies (Boydell, Volpe, Kertes et al., 2007). The technology itself
has moved over time from being a barrier due to technical difficulties to being a facilitator in terms of preferred mode of
communication (Boydell, Volpe & Pignatiello, 2010).
The breadth and flexibility of online applications ensures that technology can be used to deliver mental health services
successfully and innovatively with few differences between online and face-to-face delivery (Richards, 2009; Spence,
Donovan, March, et al., 2008, 2011).The Internet supports social networks and existing social connections, both online
and offline. It encourages community participation and increases the likelihood of help seeking (Burns, Morey, Lagelee
et al., 2007).
Chat-based services facilitate community and therefore allow therapeutic counselling interventions for an online user
community (Richards, 2009). Alongside social networking functions, interactive therapy modules can address psycho-
education, relapse prevention, stigma and social anxiety, early warning signs of relapse, depression, and identification
and use of personal strengths (Gleeson, Alvarez-Jimenez & Lederman, 2012). Another beneficial feature of social
networking sites is the “wall” function that organizes discussion threads into relevant themes where moderators can
encourage clients to share successful approaches and personal victories (Gleeson, Alvarez-Jimenez & Lederman, 2012).
Online games present clients with engaging scenarios, serving as a catalyst for raising issues and discussing difficulties
experienced by adolescents (Burns, Webb, Durkin et al., 2010).
Cost issues
Cost data in the literature has not been collected in a systematic, controlled, prospective way so is of limited quality
(Hilty, Yellowlees, Sonik et al., 2009). What literature exists suggests that total travel cost for clients is less using
telepsychiatry than the cost of travelling for face-to-face psychiatry (Elford, White, St. John et al., 2001), so clients realize
savings for travel time (Spaulding, Belz, Delurgioet al., 2010).In terms of the effect of cost on the sustainability of
videoconference services, infrastructure costs and low reimbursement by public payers are a challenge (Myers,
Valentine & Melzer, 2008).
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The Internet reaches a wide audience cost effectively and may help manage health delivery costs, including by reaching
individuals at an early stage to prevent symptoms from developing into disorders that require more costly services
(Christensen, Reynolds & Griffiths, 2011). Screening and assessment websites are reported to have ease of
administration and low costs (Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al., 2009)and can help solve problems associated with
administration, interpretation, and data integration (Diamond, Levy & Bevans, 2010;Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al.,
2009). In a study of Internet-based therapy for anxiety, therapists spent an estimated 15 minutes per week reviewing
session activities and preparing e-mail responses for each family, translating into a significant cost reduction in terms of
therapist time (March, Spence & Donovan, 2009).
The use of e-mail is also recognized as cost-effective (Trockel, Manber, Chang et al., 2011). Concerns have been raised
that enhanced client awareness due to Internet promotion might lead to an increased demand on an already
overburdened health system, but there is no systematic empirical evidence on this issue (Christensen, Reynolds &
Griffiths, 2011).
Barriers to using technology to deliver mental health services
The research on using videoconferencing to provide mental health services reports few disadvantages, and technical
quality issues are no longer an issue (Boydell, Volpe, Kertes et al., 2007). One potential problem for community service
providers is that consultation on difficult cases that does not include follow-up may lead to frustration and potential
burn-out (Diamond & Block, 2010).
Barriers to using Internet-based interventions include difficulty in engaging young people in their use, perceptions that
programs have low adherence, and clinician concerns about value, effectiveness and safety (Christensen, Reynolds &
Griffiths, 2011).Chat rooms and online environments hold potential dangers, including the possibility of attracting adults
who may take advantage of vulnerable adolescents (Webb, Burns & Collin, 2008).Also, online treatment or assessment
has greater risk for misinterpretation than in-person treatment or assessment (Gerrits, van der Zanden, Visseher et al.,
2007; Stenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al., 2009) and discussion boards without a professional therapist moderator generally
lack evidence-based therapeutic content (Gleeson, Alvarez-Jimenez & Lederman, 2012).
Technical difficulties with online technology are a potential issue (Pretorius, Rowlands, Ringwood et al., 2010). One
review of three semirural counties in Pennsylvania found problems with firewalls, out-dated computers, and resistance
to incorporating an online screening tool (Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al., 2009). Participants in one study felt that the
program was impersonal and reported inability to express feelings to a computer, or lack of motivation to turn to a
computer in times of stress/crisis. However, they indicated at the same time that they liked the flexibility and support
and used it as a stepping stone to further treatment (Pretorius, Rowlands, Ringwood et al., 2010).
Christensen (2011) identified few training schemes and highlighted a lack of developed standards, despite initiatives to
address ethical guidelines. She addressed concerns that Internet therapy might encourage a “digital divide” due to
inequitable access and create a risk of voyeurism and dependency. She noted other obstacles in developing online
therapy including the lack of evidence of effectiveness of Internet interventions and the inadequate pace at which
professional organizations are responding to online therapy.
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Disadvantages of using e-mail include concerns about potential breach of confidentiality, boundary violations, clinician
failure to recognize the urgency of some e-mails, unwanted disclosure, security issues, slow responses,
misinterpretation of content, and absence of text-based training (Cartwright, Gibbon, McDermott et al., 2005; Yager,
2003a, 2003b). Other potential problems include loss of non-verbal and observational data inherent in face-to-face work
(Roy & Gillett, 2008). Also, the technology is limited by individual client ownership, usage and phone plans.
E-mail in the workplace can produce increased negative effects on employees, who may have to cope with large
numbers of e-mails and different communication styles (Cartwright, Gibbon, McDermott et al., 2005). Research has
identified the need for formal staff training in how to use e-mail for service delivery and for specific procedures and
guidelines if working with children and youth (Cartwright, Gibbon, McDermott et al., 2005).
Adolescents identified barriers to using CD-ROM, including technical problems and finding the time to participate
(Cunningham, Wuthrich, Rapee et al., 2009; Cunningham & Wuthrich, 2008). In Cunningham et al.’s (2009) case series
evaluating clinical outcomes, only two of five participants completed all eight set modules within a 12-week time frame.
Disadvantages with using CD-ROMs for treatment include requiring extensive time and resources to develop evidence-
based programs, difficulty monitoring program use, potential technical problems, and lack of suitability for some clients
(Cunningham, Wuthrich, Rapee et al., 2009; Wuthrich, 2012).
Research gaps
Articles on videoconferencing tend to cover child and youth mental health in general, while few studies focus on a
specific diagnostic category. The literature on Internet delivered services, on the other hand, is more focused on
particular diagnostic categories. While a generalist focus is important, it is also essential to understand which service
delivery method is best for certain disorders when providing services, for instance via videoconferencing. The literature
points to the need for further research in telemental health, particularly for new theory and conceptual frameworks to
guide development and evaluation of telemental health interventions (Pesamaa, Ebeling, Kuusamaki et al., 2004).
While an accurate diagnosis or treatment recommendation can be made via technology, the literature lacks follow-up
information on how effectively recommendations are carried out (Lau, Way & Fremont, 2011). Christensen et al.’s
(2011) qualitative review of research literature reports that more research is needed to understand why more young
people do not engage with online mental health applications. More research, including qualitative inquiry, is needed to
understand the nuances and impact of the service delivered (Boydell, Volpe, Kertes et al., 2007; Boydell, Volpe &
Pignatiello, 2010).
The importance of qualitative research is specifically highlighted in helping to design and develop effective Internet
based interventions for young people (Pretorius, Rowlands, Ringwood et al., 2010). Longitudinal studies are needed to
demonstrate whether using technology to provide direct service can achieve good long-term mental health outcomes
(Boydell, Volpe & Pignatiello, 2010) and better-designed controlled trials are also needed to evaluate clinical value
(Pesamaa, Ebeling, Kuusamaki et al., 2004). Also, our review found limited studies of social networking and online
games.
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Results service scan
Drawing on findings from a survey of key informants from child and youth serving mental health organizations across
Ontario, this scan provides a snapshot of the current use of technology in the service delivery practice landscape. The
service scan was expanded through the practice knowledge of the authors, who have been involved in delivering and
researching telemental health over many years and who have built significant informal networks with practitioners and
sector leaders who use a variety of technologies to deliver mental health services. Additional phone calls and e-mails
were made to select individuals in Australia, the United States and other provinces in Canada to add practical context to
this paper (Appendix II).
Survey demographics
One hundred and sixteen surveys were e-mailed to child and youth serving mental health organizations across the
province. Eighteen of these were returned as undeliverable, leaving a total of 98. After three weeks and three
reminders, fifty-one surveys were returned by community agencies and hospitals, constituting a 52% response rate,
adequate for e-mail surveys (Dillman, 2000). The majority of respondents served children and youth in urban
communities (67.4%), with 35 percent serving rural communities and the remaining 18 percent serving suburban
settings.8 Agencies in urban and suburban communities often also provide mental health services to rural and suburban
children, youth and families.
The use of technology to deliver child and youth mental health services
Child and youth mental health service agencies in Ontario use a variety of technologies in their day-to-day operations.
The costs to organizations vary according the differing technologies and can be a barrier to incorporation.
All survey respondents indicated that they used the telephone to deliver mental health services to children and youth,
followed closely by televideo conferencing. However, the figures reported by respondents are misleading as they took a
very liberal view of the definition of delivery of mental health services and supports. Although they identified using the
technology for mental health service delivery and support, in actuality it was often being used for communication,
information or scheduling purposes.
8Totals more than 100% as some agencies served multiple areas.
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Figure 1: Technologies used and research/evaluation conducted (n=48)
Table 2: Technologies used in child and youth mental health organizations (n=48)
Percentage
100.0
64.6
63.3
60.4
27.0
18.8
SMS 16.7
Chat room 6.3
Telephone: All respondents indicated that they used the telephone in their day-to-day work serving children, youth and
families, but was mostly focused on client inquiries and scheduling, intake and assessment, sharing information with
clients and carers, and case and administrative teleconferences. Many also used the telephone for brief counselling, de-
escalation and problem solving with parents and youth in crisis situations, and to support parents.
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Videoconference: Close to two-thirds of respondents (63.3%) used videoconferencing to deliver child and youth mental
health services and support9 for psychiatric assessments, consultations, interventions and case conferences. Televideo
was also used for education and training.
E-mail: Close to two-thirds (64.6%) of survey respondents stated that they used E-mail to deliver services to children and
youth. However, this figure is misleading, as only three respondents indicated that it was used for counselling and
support when describing the ways in which they used e-mail. E-mail was used most frequently to assist with making
appointments, communicate among staff or with other service agencies. One organization explicitly indicated that they
were only allowed to use e-mail for making appointments.
Internet website: Although a large percentage of respondents indicated that they had a website that was used for
mental health service delivery (60.4%), like e-mail it was used to communicate information about the services offered
rather than to actually provide services and/or support. In one case, it was used to administer a self-administered
toolkit, but there were no reports of actual service delivery.
Skype or other internet based application: Twenty-seven percent of respondents used Skype or similar form of internet
based application. For most, it was used for training, case conferences, meetings, and supervision. For a few, it was used
for counselling. One respondent identified the difficulties associated with getting a secure connection using Skype.
Mobile phone applications (apps): Although 18.8 percent identified that they used mobile phone apps, none were using
them to deliver services and supports. Rather, they were using mobile phones for communication, such as e-mail to
schedule appointments. One agency was exploring using mobile apps for mood disorders.
SMS (text messaging): With the exception of one agency that used SMS to actually counsel clients, all reported use of
SMS (16.7%) was for scheduling contacts with clients or for staff communication.
Chat room: Only three organizations (6.3%) indicated that they used a chat room one for e-counselling, one for use
with staff and one that was experimenting with its use for counselling.
For all forms of technology used, respondents were asked whether or not there was a research or evaluative component
attached to the use of these technologies. As indicated in Figure 1 above, very little research/evaluation is conducted
with the various technologies in practice. Of those that are researched, telephone and videoconference are the most
likely to have an evaluation component, followed by e-mail and SMS. These evaluations are typically general consumer
satisfaction surveys and fail to offer any specific outcome data.
The service scan of child and youth serving organizations involved two open ended questions asking respondents to
identify the key benefits and challenges of using technology to deliver mental health services and supports to children
and youth. Of the 51 respondents, 49 identified at least one advantage and 48 identified at least one disadvantage.
9 This is not surprising given the existing Ontario-wide telemental health service, currently being expanded and enhanced.
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Advantages in using technology to deliver child and youth mental health services
Survey respondents identified four main benefits to using technology to provide mental health services:
1. increased accessibility
2. acceptability
3. preferred by children and youth
4. cost savings
These benefits were supported by the main findings described in our literature review.
a) Increased accessibility
The most prominent benefit discussed in the survey responses was the impression that information and communication
technologies (ICT’s)increase service accessibility for clients. Many of the technologies reviewed in the literature and
listed by survey respondents are innovative in their ability to reach and facilitate communication with a wide array of
clients, providing fast and efficient information transfer. By using telephones, mobile phones, the Internet and e-mail,
services can “increase the number of client-counsellor contacts” and “apply specialized and limited resources” across
large geographical areas. The services that can be provided using technology are those that many communities “do not
have locally and would never have received without (the technologies)” such as specialist psychiatric and psychological
consultations.
Respondents also valued the ability to use technology to tie service provision to other, related activities. One
respondent indicated that the information collected using ICT is “excellent for use with (a) database to log data and
produce reports for research”. Many of the technologies are designed to enable prompt access to contact information,
research options and data collation features. Connected to this is the paperless aspect, which was viewed as another
benefit to using technology to deliver services. The flexibility afforded when using technology is a perceived benefit with
applications and information available 24/7.
b) Accepted and preferred by children and youth
Another perceived benefit to using information and communication technologies when delivering mental health services
is the sense that young people prefer to communicate via technology rather than face-to-face. Children and young
people are comfortable with using social networking websites, e-mail and smartphones on a daily basis and in many
cases have grown up familiar with technology. Respondents have found that young people enjoy using the technology
and are more engaged and strongly identify with those methods of communication. This is a view that is complemented
by the research literature (Boydell, Volpe & Pignatiello, 2010; Elford, White, St. John et al., 2001; Iloabachie, Wells,
Goodwin et al., 2011; Van Voorhees, Ellis, Stuart et al., 2005).
The privacy afforded by communicating online over a perceived long distance is also seen as a benefit for older youth.
This is also concurrent with much of the literature, which has revealed that adolescents prefer to reveal personal
information on computers and via video-conferencing rather than in face-to-face interviews (Cheblowski & Fremont,
2011; Diamond, Levy, Bevans et al., 2010).
c) Cost saving
Cost-effectiveness, particularly for clients, was another benefit highlighted in the survey. Many respondents identified
that using communication technologies reduces the travel, parking and accommodation costs for rurally located clients
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to access specialist services that are only available in larger cities. By reducing costs, services become more accessible
and more children and youth are able to receive treatment.
There are also costs savings for organization’s use of ICT to deliver mental health services. The limited literature focusing
on cost to organizations is generally positive, indicating the cost benefits of service delivery using technology(Elford,
White, St. John et al., 2001; Spaulding, Belz, Delurgio et al., 2010; Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al., 2009). However the
service scan also highlighted the cost of technology and upkeep as a potential barrier to its use.
Difficulties in using technology to deliver child and youth mental health services
Survey respondents identified four main challenges to using technology in the delivery of mental health services:
1. confidentiality/security/privacy issues
2. issues with technology and equipment
3. challenges in establishing relationships
4. cost
The issues identified by survey respondents were only minimally identified in the literature review.
a) Confidentiality/security/privacy issues
The perception that privacy is protected is critical to the uptake and use of technology-enabled mental health services
and supports. Most respondents identified the issues of client confidentiality, privacy and security of content and
information as key barriers, particularly online technologies. Some noted that they did not have adequate resources to
support encryption to ensure confidentiality and prevent outside access to sensitive or personal material. This concern
includes accidental transmission of sensitive information or deliberate attempts at acquiring sensitive information
“…inadvertent forwarding of texting, e-mail, etc. or (access to information) by hacking”. Participants were concerned
about the financial and intellectual cost of acquiring and installing encryption software and firewalls to improve security.
Video conferencing software, such as Skype, was perceived as being susceptible to security breaches from the potential
for recording to be carried out on the clients end with easily acquirable recording software or even by an unseen third
party.
The Internet is not perceived to be secure and information may reside on social networking websites or other websites
“forever”. Respondents felt that most people do not know where the information they are writing is stored on the
Internet or how to clear it. There is also concern that clients are unaware that their information is being preserved and
that they do not information cannot be removed once it is uploaded. There is potential liability regarding who is know
who is on the other end of an e-mail or chat room communication and how written information may be used or
interpreted.
b) Technology and equipment issues
Difficulty using the technology itself is another perceived barrier. The challenges include set-up, maintenance and the
availability of the technology, such as “(the) challenges of setting up and arranging (an) OTN (Ontario Telemedicine
Network) session”. Some respondents felt that there needs to be a higher level of technology proficiency within
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agencies. As one individual stated, there needs to be “support for the oversight and skills to effectively utilize
technological tools”.
Ensuring technology is maintained and up-to-date was a concern, with information technologies advancing at a rapid
pace and requiring the necessary hardware and software. One respondent also highlighted the potential “resistance
from older staff and possibly families who are not connected (to the) Internet”. There is apprehension about the ability
for the technology to reach the more remote and rural northerly regions within an acceptable time frame. This
information highlights the importance of making informed decisions across all purveyors.
c) Challenges in establishing relationships
The ability, or inability, to develop strong therapeutic relationships between practitioners and clients is another
perceived challenge when using technology to deliver mental health services. While much of the research indicates that
therapeutic outcomes are equal or greater in some cases when comparing face-to-face delivery with Internet and
telephone delivery (Elford, White, St. John et al., 2001; Read, Farrow, Jaanimagi et al., 2009; Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa
et al., 2009; Pakyurek, Yellowlees & Hilty, 2010), some respondents felt that technology is impersonal and eliminates
subtle communication.
Factors associated with this barrier include building trust and maintaining engagement, factors viewed as vital to
creating positive therapeutic relationships. Another respondent highlighted the absence of body language in some
technologies, which can greatly impact the communication between two parties. “Most of what we communicate is not
communicated through language; it is through tone, body language, intensity etc. So, when the technology makes
therapy about words only and content only, it is much less effective and useful”.
d) Cost
Several respondents also highlighted the cost to organizations, particularly telemedicine, as a potential barrier to using
technology to deliver services. As one individual highlighted, “the first barrier is lack of adequate funding despite
technology becoming so essential and critical to the work we do”. While concerns regarding cost were included in
responses, some of the articles reviewed pointed to a decrease in overall costs for providers and clients when using
technology (Elford, White, St. John et al., 2001; Spaulding, Belz, Delurgio et al., 2010; Steenhuis, Serra, Minderaa et al.,
2009). However, the quality of cost data in the literature is too limited to draw conclusions from and there is little
informationthat has been collected in systematic, controlled, prospective ways (Hilty, Yellowlees, Sonic et al., 2009).
Interestingly many participants commented on decreases in cost, particularly for the client, when responding to the
subsequent question in the survey “In your opinion what are the benefits in using technology to deliver mental health
services?”
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CONCLUSIONS
Ontario is positioned to take a leading role in developing policy in tele-mental and e-mental health and is encouraged to
capitalize on positive findings from the field. There is a critical need for technological delivery of services and supports to
be integrated into mental health policy planning. There is a strong case for tele-mental health and e-mental health to be
established as priority areas given the supporting research and their importance in the current delivery of mental health
services. The Internet will play a major role in the future delivery of programs to provide prevention, assessment,
diagnosis, counselling and treatment programs and to increase community awareness.
The technological delivery of mental health services represents the wave of the future of health
care, if we really want to reach people who are underserved. It is not whether, but how to apply
it securely and safely.10
Participants in the policy and decision-maker consultation process expressed a strong desire for more forums and
discussion on the use of technology in the delivery of mental health services and supports to children and youth. The
potential strategies outlined in the next section provide pillars for a comprehensive plan to implement technology-
delivered mental health services within a coordinated system of care for children and youth in Ontario.
Implications for policy, practice and research
The central implications for policy, practice and research are drawn from the three-pronged process used in this project
the empirical literature, consultations with decision makers and key informants, and a service scan of mental health
agencies in Ontario. Based on input from stakeholders and key findings from the research literature, we recommend the
following strategies for policy and decision makers:
Engage in provincial policy development
Establish a provincial advisory group
An important first step in moving toward a provincial e-mental health policy is the establishment of a provincial advisory
group on using technology to provide child and youth mental health services. This advisory group should be trans-
disciplinary and include all stakeholders, particularly youth and their families. It represents an opportunity to improve
the research-policy interface by promoting partnerships among policy and decision-makers, researchers, service
providers and consumers. It would also provide a forum for discussion that stakeholders in our consultation process
identified as being critical. It will also be important to connect with the current e-mental health initiative of the Mental
Health Commission of Canada to ensure consistency and develop a framework to guide and inform practice in Canada.11
Develop guidelines for the use of technology in child and youth mental health
Guidelines on using technology to deliver mental health services are enablers to build online approaches that are
effective, efficient and engaging. Guidelines regarding ethical principles and liabilities, confidentiality and privacy,
10Policy maker, consultation interview
11 This needs to be aligned with the current project of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the goal of which is to produce a framework for e-mental health
(see www.mentalhealthcommissionofcanada.ca)
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(evaluation, and education and training will help to encourage good practice and promote high quality mental health
information for clients accessing services through the Internet. Available service guidelines and standards (e.g. those
used by Canadian College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ontario Telemedicine Network) will help in this process and in the
development of future guidelines and standards.
Guidelines developed together with agencies and practitioners will enable them to participate in this sphere. There is a
need to develop guidelines for professional and non-professional practice on the use of technology in mental health
service delivery. Societies and professional organizations need to educate their members about the ethical and legal
implications of interacting with patients on the Internet and through text and e-mail. Community centres, mental health
services and other organizations within the mental health and related communities need to identify procedures for
handling Internet inquiries and requests. Without clear practices and protocols, mental health professionals and children
and youth may be at risk and clients may develop unrealistic expectations.
Government, working with key stakeholders, should develop:
(i) Guidelines with respect to ethical principles and liabilities
Promote the highest standard ethical code of conduct in all e-mental health interactions.
Facilitate the development, implementation and monitoring of ethical guidelines and standards for e-mental
health intervention;
Identify and examine relevant legal issues, and in particular, professional liability issues associated with online
service delivery;
(ii) Guidelines with respect to confidentiality and privacy
Protect confidentiality and privacy of e-mental health interactions while improving accessibility and continuity of
care through the use of e-records.
Identify any legal issues associated with confidentiality and privacy that are specific to the area of mental health
and to children and young people.
(iii) Guidelines with respect to education and training
Encourage professional organizations to develop guidelines and future training and accreditation requirements
for the practice of professional online therapy and other e-mental health approaches.
Support comprehensive and mandatory training in the use of technology to deliver child and youth mental
health services, across all sectors (health, education, youth justice, training, colleges and universities, and child
and youth mental health agencies).
Include education and training in the use of technology in academic programs for child and youth mental health
practitioners to shift attitudes and build skills of the emerging workforce sectors.
(iv) Guidelines with respect to evaluating the effectiveness of Internet sites
Internet interventions and information sites in mental health should be evaluated for their effectiveness. There
is a special need to evaluate the effectiveness of support groups in mental health since these are growing,
popular and often cater to specific needs. Although many mental health websites are available, very few are
evaluated. Without such evaluation it is difficult to know whether they are useful, satisfying for consumers and
mental health professionals, or even harmful.
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Support systematic evaluation and research on the use of technology in child and youth mental health in Ontario
A comprehensive review (including a thorough environmental scan) of all tele-mental and e-mental health services and
programs that serve children, youth and their families across the province would provide a picture of the current
landscape. This would include:
Identification of the range of the types of interactions that occur online
Current Internet-based mental health interventions as a function of type of intervention strategy and funding
source, including a description of services, who provides them, the modes of delivery, target groups and service
users
Telemedicine and e-mental health services including Web-based counselling, Web psychiatry and Internet and
other e-technology assisted therapy, in particular Web based ‘call centres’ which offer online advice and
counselling
Available and emerging e-mental health technologies
Internet crisis services, support groups and chat groups in Ontario
Initiatives that aim to provide physical access to the Internet and to other e-mental health services for those
with mental health symptoms
The attitudes and expectations of consumers and professionals about the role of e-mental health
Research and evaluation across sectors to identify best practices and ensure integration of research and
practice.
Focus on knowledge mobilization
There is a need for a knowledge mobilization strategy to share the successes in the field in Ontario and beyond. An
example of one strategy being used is the Beacon portal (www.beacon.anu.edu.au) that provides users with a
comprehensive directory of e-health applications (websites, mobile applications and Internet support groups), and
includes reviews, expert ratings and user comments. The reviews are specific to mobile apps and internet support
groups. The portal provides information about a range of online interventions used in the prevention or treatment of
mental health disorders. Beacon’s health applications for generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic
disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are described by Christensen and her colleagues.12
Develop an education and training strategy
Continuing education programs should be developed that target CYMH practitioner training programs and existing
service providers to encourage and educate future and current practitioners to integrate e-mental health initiatives into
their practices. A mechanism for credentialing individuals to engage in this type of work would also be worthy of
consideration.
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Ensure access to technology
Access to videoconferencing and Internet technologies should be improved for those communities that are not currently
served. Initiatives that are currently underway to improve Internet access for all Ontarians should continue, but there is
a need to develop specific access strategies for those with mental health symptoms since mental health may differ
substantially from other areas of health. In particular, there is greater stigma and less openness about mental health
problems and the evidence suggests that mental health consumers are taking to technologies very quickly.
Investigate strategies for improving access to mental health information, treatment and support for those not
currently served by the technology.
Identify factors such as lack of physical access, lack of interest and lack of information literacy that contribute to
the digital divide among mental health stakeholders and serve as barriers to the use of technology within
Ontario.
Together with relevant government, non-government and practitioner organizations, plan strategies for public
education of mental health consumers, carers and providers in mental health technologies.
With close to 80 percent of all Canadians using the Internet or social media on a daily basis, there is an opportunity to
expand the availability of effective mental health services and supports for children and youth. As indicated in the
Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health report13 on access and wait times (2010), tele- and e-
mental health programs were identified as the most innovative strategies to enhance access to mental health services
and supports for children and youth and one approach to enhance access to mental health services for children, youth
and their families.
System transition and service enhancement
Moving on Mental Health: a system that makes sense for children and youth lays out an exciting new path forward for
the child and youth mental health sector, and service options that include technology will be essential for all
communities in Ontario. The province's child and youth telepsychiatry program has already shown that Ontario is a
leader in using technology to provide enhanced access to effective mental health services for children and youth.
Ontario has the capacity to make increased use of a wide variety of technologies as vehicles for service delivery. Moving
forward to establish common guidelines, a strong evidence base and to mobilize this knowledge are important next
steps.
Globally, a range of technologies are being used to deliver mental health services, and they will likely continue to grow in
importance, transforming the child and youth mental health sector. System transition is an ideal opportunity to take
advantage of existing and emerging technologies to provide effective, efficient, engaging, and client-centred
interventions for children, youth and families across Ontario.
12Christensen, H., Murray, K., Calear, A. L., Bennett, K., Bennett, A. & Griffiths, K. M. (2010). Beacon: a web portal to high-quality mental health websites for use by
health professionals and the public. Medical Journal of Australia, 192(11): S40-S44.
13http://www.excellenceforchildandyouth.ca/sites/default/files/policy_access_and_wait_times.pdf
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APPENDIX I
Definitions
e-Health: an emerging field at the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health
services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the
term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a
commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using
information and communication technology.14
E-mental health: mental health services and information delivered or enhanced through the internet and related
technologies.15 Two types of e-mental health are referred to web interventions and mobile applications.16
Telemental health: a subset of telehealth that uses videoconferencing technology to provide mental health services
from a distance. It includes telepsychology, telepsychiatry, telemental health nursing and telebehavioural health.
Telemedicine: the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to
improve patients’ health status.17
14Eysenbach, G. What is e-health? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2001; 3(2): e20.
15 Christensen, H., Griffiths, K.M., Evans, K. (2002). e-Mental Health in Australia: Implications of the internet and related technologies for policy. ISC Discussion Paper
No. 3., Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.
16 Christensen, H. and Petrie, K. (2013). State of the e-Mental Health field in Australia: Where are we now? Australian and New Zealand Journal ofPsychiatry, 47(2),
117-120.
17American Telemedicine Association, www.americantelemed.org
October 2013
Technology to deliver mental health services
52
APPENDIX II
Face-to-face workshop
Facilitator: Sheila Cook
Infacilitation
Policy and decision-maker consultation participants
Anne Bowlby
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Pamela Brown
Children and Youth at Risk Branch, Ministry
of Children and Youth Services
Joanne Brown
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Shaun Gluckman
Program Analyst, eHealth Liaison Branch,
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Christine Sham
Manager Strategy, Planning & Alignment,
eHealth Liaison, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Mary Mannella
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Vytas Mickevicius
eHealth Liaison Branch, Ministry of Health
and Long-Term Care
Michelle Molligan
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Joanne Shenfeld
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Julie Walsh
Lawson Health Research Institute,
University of Western Ontario
Paul Wheeler
Youth Justice Division, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services
Research team and Centre participants
Helen Edwards
Director, Clinical Informatics and Technology
The Hospital for Sick Children
Tony Pignatiello
Medical Director, TeleLink Mental Health Program
The Hospital for Sick Children
David Willis
Clinical Manager, TeleLink Mental Health Program
The Hospital for Sick Children
Charlie Carter
Program Associate, Ontario Centre of Excellence for
Child and Youth Mental Health
MaryAnn Notarianni
Manager, Knowledge Exchange, Ontario Centre of
Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
Key informant interview participants
Sue Foley
Senior Social Worker
CAPTOS Co-ordinator
The Department of Psychological Medicine
The Children's Hospital at Westmead, NSW
Australia
Catherine Ford
Senior Policy Advisor
Mental Health and Addictions Unit
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Simon Hatcher
Vice-Chair of Research, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
David Kreindler
Associate Scientist
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Carolyn Mak
Director, Knowledge Mobilization & Program Development
Kids Help Phone Counseling Services
Kathleen Myers
Clinical Program Director, Consultation/Liaison Service;
Program Director, Telepsychiatry and Behavioral
Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital
October 2013
Technology to deliver mental health services
53
APPENDIX III
Library search strategy
Search strategy
Hospital Library
Cheri Nickel
Reference & Instruction Services Librarian
416-813-7520
cheri.nickel@sickkids.ca
January 22, 2013
Question:
use of technology in the
delivery of mental health services to
children/youth/
Limited to English publications only and
from 2000 current.
Database: PsycINFO <1967 to January Week 3 2013>
Search Strategy:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 exp mental disorders/ (393811)
2 community mental health services/ or community mental health/ or community mental health centers/ or community
psychiatry/ (9799)
3 exp mental health programs/ or primary mental health prevention/ or psychiatric clinics/ (11653)
4 mental health services/ or exp psychiatric hospital programs/ (28167)
5 exp psychiatry/ (33221)
6 or/1-5 (449977)
7 teleconferencing/ or telemedicine/ or computer assisted diagnosis/ or computer assisted therapy/ or computer mediated
communication/ or internet/ (24778)
8 (telepsychiatry or telepsychology or "telemental health").mp. (317)
9 electronic communication/ or exp social media/ (4000)
10 exp computer peripheral devices/ or exp internet usage/ or messages/ or online social networks/ or online therapy/ (9276)
11 mobile devices/ or cellular phones/ (1384)
12 websites/ (2220)
13 exp computers/ or computer assisted therapy/ (12330)
14 ("social media" or facebook or twitter or youtube or you-tube).mp. (1427)
15 or/7-14 (45918)
16 6 and 15 (2905)
17 limit 16 to (100 childhood <birth to age 12 yrs> or 120 neonatal <birth to age 1 mo> or 140 infancy <age 2 to 23 mo> or 160
preschool age <age 2 to 5 yrs> or 180 school age <age 6 to 12 yrs> or 200 adolescence <age 13 to 17 yrs> or 320 young adulthood
<age 18 to 29 yrs>) (706)
18 (infan* or newborn* or new-born* or neonat* or baby or babies or child* or youth or kid or kids or toddler* or boy* or girl* or
adolescen* or teen* or juvenile* or p?ediatric*).mp. (658785)
19 16 and 18 (525)
20 17 or 19 (920)
21 limit 20 to english language (877)
22 limit 21 to yr="2000 -Current" (815)
Hospital Library
Cheri Nickel
Reference & Instruction Services Librarian
January 22, 2013
Question:
use of technology in the
delivery of mental health services to
children/youth/
October 2013
Technology to deliver mental health services
54
416-813-7520
cheri.nickel@sickkids.ca
Limited to English publications only and
from 2000 current
.
Database: Embase Classic+Embase <1947 to 2013 Week 03>
Search Strategy:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 exp mental disease/ (1596352)
2 mental health care/ or home mental health care/ or mental health service/ (57400)
3 psychiatric nursing/ or community psychiatric nursing/ (13889)
4 psychiatric treatment/ or exp psychiatry/ (115224)
5 or/1-4 (1677567)
6 telemedicine/ or telehealth/ or telemonitoring/ or telepsychiatry/ or teletherapy/ (11046)
7 e-mail/ or internet/ or mobile phone/ or social media/ or telephone/ or text messaging/ or videoconferencing/ or webcast/
(100116)
8 computer/ or exp computer network/ or microcomputer/ or personal digital assistant/ (93643)
9 ("social media" or facebook or twitter or youtube or you-tube).mp. (1702)
10 (telepsychology or "telemental health").mp. (77)
11 or/6-10 (196759)
12 5 and 11 (14783)
13 limit 12 to (infant <to one year> or child <unspecified age> or preschool child <1 to 6 years> or school child <7 to 12 years> or
adolescent <13 to 17 years>) (2632)
14 exp adolescent/ or exp child/ or exp newborn/ (2850823)
15 12 and 14 (2753)
16 13 or 15 (2753)
17 limit 16 to english language (2545)
18 limit 17 to yr="2000 -Current" (2159)
***************************
Hospital Library
Cheri Nickel
Reference & Instruction Services Librarian
416-813-7520
cheri.nickel@sickkids.ca
January 22, 2013
Question: use of technology in the
delivery of mental health services to
children/youth/ young adults
Limited to English publications only and
from 2000 current.
Database: Ovid MEDLINE(R) 1946 to Present with Daily Update
Search Strategy:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 mental health services/ or community mental health services/ or emergency services, psychiatric/ or social work, psychiatric/
(42377)
2 exp Mental Disorders/ (874799)
3 psychiatry/ or exp community psychiatry/ (31657)
4 or/1-3 (912553)
5 Telemedicine/ (9686)
6 (telepsychiatry or telepsychology or "telemental health").mp. (316)
7 videoconferencing/ or webcasts as topic/ (803)
8 electronic mail/ or telephone/ or cellular phone/ or text messaging/ (13340)
October 2013
Technology to deliver mental health services
55
9 computer communication networks/ or internet/ or blogging/ or social media/ or exp computers/ (120073)
10 ("social media" or facebook or twitter or youtube or you-tube).mp. (1065)
11 or/5-10 (138923)
12 4 and 11 (5733)
13 limit 12 to ("all child (0 to 18 years)" or "young adult (19 to 24 years)") (1864)
14 adolescent psychiatry/ or child psychiatry/ (5637)
15 11 and 14 (53)
16 13 or 15 (1890)
17 limit 16 to english language (1783)
18 limit 17 to yr="2000 -Current" (1425)
***************************
56
APPENDIX IV
Literature review summary tables
Table 1: The use of televideo conference (n=42)
Reference No.
Country
Participants & Methods
Objective
Study Results
1.
ALESSI, N.E. (2003).
Quantitative documentation
of the therapeutic efficacy of
adolescent telepsychiatry.
Telemedicine Journal and e-
Health, 9(3), 283-290.
USA
Case report of a 15-year-old adolescent
who was evaluated and treated via
telepsychiatry as part of an ongoing
project at the University of Michigan
Health System and the Hiawatha
Community Mental Health Center in
Michigan
To provide a case example of the
application of standardized
instruments to characterize and track
the result of the treatment
intervention.
Provision of care via teleconferencing allowed proper diagnosis
of an adolescent who suffered from posttraumatic stress
disorder and poly-substance abuse. This allowed the
discontinuation of medications and a return of the patient to
her previous level of functioning. Most importantly in this case
was the relationship that developed between the psychiatrist
and the patient that led to a more accurate assessment of her
psychopathology.
2. BISCHOFF, R.J., HOLLIST, C.S.,
SMITH, C.W., FLACK, P. (2004).
Addressing the mental health
needs of the rural
underserved: findings from a
multiple case study of a
behavioral telehealth project.
Contemporary Family
Therapy,26(2), 179-198.
USA Qualitative multiple case study of three
high school students in rural community
To 1) identify therapist, client, and
technology factors affecting service
delivery; 2) articulate characteristics of
service delivery via this tele-
communications strategy; and 3)
identify treatment recommendation.
All rural participants indicated that they would choose the BTH
program over all other options; negative influences of
technology can be compensated for with appropriate
accommodations to the technology and modes of
communication. The privacy afforded by this means of service
provision was appreciated.
3. BOYDELL, K.M., VOLPE, T.,
KERTES, A. GREENBERG, N.
(2007). A review of the
outcomes of the
recommendations made
during paediatric
telepsychiatry consultations.
Journal of Telemedicine and
Telecare
, 13, 277–281
CANADA
Reviewed 100 telepsychiatry
consultations, chosen randomly from a
paediatric telepsychiatry program serving
rural communities in Ontario. Case
managers of 54 of the cases were
interviewed to determine whether
recommendations implemented and to
examine barriers and facilitators to
implementation.
To determine uptake of
recommendations made during
psychiatric consultation via televideo.
Results indicated that cooperation of both child and parent,
clear communication of recommendations, involvement of the
school and local health providers, stability of the agencies and
availability of services were key components in the successful
implementation of recommendations. The matter of
technology or technological difficulties acting as a barrier to
telepsychiatric consultations was not mentioned by case
managers, suggesting that it was not a problem.
4.
BOYDELL, K.M., VOLPE, T.,
PIGNATIELLO, A. (2010). A
qualitative a study of young
people’s perspectives on
receiving psychiatric services
via televideo. J Can Acad Child
Adolesc Psychiatry, 19,1, 5-11.
CANADA Interpretive interactionism was used to
qualitatively interview 30 young people
who had received psychiatric
consultation via televideo; immediately
following the consultation and four to six
weeks later. Analysis occurred via steps in
keeping with the interpretive
interactionist framework.
To understand the experience of
young people receiving telepsychiatry.
Four themes: the encounter with the psychiatrist and
experience of having others in the room; the helpfulness of the
session; a sense of personal choice during the consultation;
and, the technology. Participants highlighted the importance of
their relationship with the psychiatrist. Participant’s narratives
were replete with examples of ways that they actively took
responsibility and exerted control
within the session itself.
Strong desire by young people to have a more extended
relationship with the psychiatrist, suggests the need to further
explore this option; longitudinal study needed.
57
5.
BOYDELL, K.M., VOLPE, T.,
PIGNATIELLO, A. (2010). A
qualitative a study of young
people’s perspectives on
receiving psychiatric services
via televideo. J Can Acad
Child Adolesc Psychiatry,
19,1, 5-11.
CANADA Interpretive interactionism was used to
qualitatively interview 30 young people who
had received psychiatric consultation via
televideo; immediately following the
consultation and four to six weeks later.
Analysis occurred via steps in keeping with
the interpretive interactionist framework.
To understand the experience of young
people receiving telepsychiatry.
Four themes: the encounter with the psychiatrist and
experience of having others in the room; the
helpfulness of the session; a sense of personal choice
during the consultation; and, the technology.
Participants highlighted the importance of their
relationship with the psychiatrist. Participant’s
narratives were replete with examples of ways that
they actively took responsibility and exerted control
within the session itself.
Strong desire by young people to have a more
extended relationship with the psychiatrist, suggests
the need to further explore this option; longitudinal
study needed
6. CHLEBOWSKI, S., FREMONT,
W. (2011). Therapeutic uses
of the WebCam in child
psychiatry. Academic
Psychiatry, 35, 263–267
USA Six cases illustrate the use of the WebCam in
individual and family therapy.
To provide examples for the use of the
WebCam as a therapeutic tool in child
psychiatry, discussing cases to
demonstrate the application of the
WebCam, which is most often used in
psychiatry training programs during
resident supervision and for case
presentations.
WebCam was helpful in facilitating patient
communication; use of the WebCam as a mirror by
which the child can see himself and reflect upon his
social skills. Progress in treatment may be evident to
the participants after case review; advantages of
reviewing tapes with the patient or family.
Recommend the WebCam for psycho-education,
communication, and treatment with children and
families. The applications of this technology may
include cognitive-behavior therapy, dialectical-
behavioral, and group therapy.
7.
DIAMOND, J.M., BLOCK, R.M.
(2010). Telepsychiatry
assessments of child or
adolescent behavior
disorders: A review of
evidence and issues.
Telemedicine and e-
Health,16(6), 712-716.
USA This was a literature search using Medline via
Ovid. It focused on English- language material
published between 1996 and 2009. A range
of search terms relating to assessment,
mental health, telemedicine, and children
was used. Any studies focusing on child and
adolescent psychiatric assessment were
included.
To review the literature on
telepsychiatry assessment of children
and adolescents.
The limited literature on children is related to project
descriptions or case reports. Acceptance, the
diagnoses and recommendations are not seen as
different from in-person assessments. Practical
considerations that arise in giving telepsychiatric
assessments are discussed. One-time consultations
on difficult cases can lead to frustration and potential
burn-out. Discomfort can arise from not knowing
outcomes, which could undermine the
telepsychiatrist’s satisfaction or confidence. No
findings suggest that telepsychiatric assessments are
biased toward recognizing certain disorders over
others, or that telepsychiatric assessments are not
comparable to IP assessments.
58
8.
ELFORD, D.R., WHITE, H., ST
JOHN, K., MADDIGAN, B.,
GHANDI. M., BOWERING, R.
(2001). A prospective
satisfaction study and cost
analysis of a pilot child
telepsychiatry service in
Newfoundland. Journal of
Telemedicine and Telecare, 7,
73–81
CANADA Thirty patients (aged 516 years),
accompanied by a parent, completed a
psychiatric assessment using the
videoconferencing system. One of five child
psychiatrists was randomly assigned to each
assessment. Satisfaction questionnaires were
completed after each assessment by the
psychiatrist, patient and parent. Parents also
completed a cost questionnaire.
To evaluate user satisfaction w a PC-
based video- conferencing system used
for child psychiatry assessments and
perform a cost analysis
Twenty-nine parents (97%) preferred to use the
telepsychiatry system to travelling to see a child
psychiatrist in person. Eleven children (aged 5–12)
participated and all ‘liked’ using the telepsychiatry
system. Five out of nine children (56%) liked the
‘television doctor’ better than the ‘real’ doctor; four
said they had no preference. Nineteen adolescents
(aged 1316 years) participated and most were very
satisfied or satisfied with the system. Seventeen of
19 adolescents (89%) prefer to see the psychiatrist
via videoconferencing to travelling for assessment,
and the same number would use telepsychiatry
again. Estimated total travel cost for 30 patients was
$12,849, an average of $428 per patient. The total
cost of the telepsychiatry service for three-month
pilot was $12,575, or $419 per patient.
9. ELFORD, D.R., WHITE, H.,
BOWERING, R., GHANDI, A.,
MADDIGGAN, B., ST JOHN, K.,
HOUSE, M., HARNETT, J.,
WEST, R., BATTCOCK, A.
(2000). A randomized,
controlled trial of child
psychiatric assessments
conducted using
videoconferencing. Journal of
Telemedicine and Telecare, 6,
73–82
CANADA Twenty-three patients (aged 416 years),
accompanied by their parents, completed
two psychiatric assessments, one via video-
conferencing and another face to face (FTF).
The order of assess- ments was randomized.
Questionnaires were used to record the
diagnosis, treat- ment recomm- endations
and the psychiatrists’, patients’ and their
parents’ satisfaction with each assessment.
To determine satisfaction with
telepsychiatry vs. face-to-face
encounters.
High-quality audio was found to be one of the most
important factors influencing how satisfied the
parents and psychiatrists were with the
videoconferencing system. Children (aged 4–12
years) were very positive about the
videoconferencing system; 16 out of 17 ‘liked’ using
the system and five liked it better than seeing the
doctor in person. One of the five adolescents
preferred the telepsychiatry assessment. This is in
contrast to the psychiatrists and parents, who almost
unanimously preferred to have an assessment done
face to face.
10. ELLINGTON, E.,
MCGUINNESS, T.M. (2011).
Telepsychiatry for children
and adolescents. Journal of
Psychosocial Nursing, 49(2),
19-22.
USA
Overview of literature and commentary.
To provide an overview of the
implications of telepsychiatry for
nursing.
There are as yet no specific psychiatric telehealth
nursing guidelines, general telehealth nursing
guidelines exist.
59
11.
GELBER, H. (2001). The
experience in Victoria with
telepsychiatry for the child
and adolescent mental
health service. Journal of
Telemedicine and Telecare,7
(Suppl. 2):S2, 32–34.
AUS A survey of 25 CAMHS clinicians in five rural
regions who had used videoconferencing.
To survey clinicians to inform future
telepsychiatry development. The survey
was intended to discover their key
experiences both positive and negative
that had shaped the implementation of
telepsychiatry in these services.
Use - Sixty-four per cent had used the technology for
more than 18 months, and 20% had used it for 7–12
months. Also, 60% had used the technology on over
30 occasions, and 24% had used it on 20–29
occasions. Ninety-six per cent of respondents
reported an increased level of comfort over time.
Ninety-two per cent of respondents reported that
they had used the technology for
clinical/consultation applications and supervision,
while 36% had used it for teaching. Given the paucity
of specialist CAMHS in rural Victoria, this indicates
that CAMHS clinicians continue to use the technology
to improve their clinical work. Respondents clearly
recognized its benefits in terms of their increased
knowledge and skills (96%), strengthening of
relationships with colleagues (92%) and decreased
sense of isolation (92%).
12. GOLDFIELD, G.S., BOACHIE,
A.M. (2003). Delivery of
family therapy in the
treatment of anorexia
nervosa using telehealth.
Telemedicine Journal and E-
health, 9(1), 111-114.
CANADA Case study, n=1 of F from small under-served
city
To report the therapeutic outcome &
patient satisfaction of using telehealth
to provide family therapy as an adjunct
treatment for AN to an adolescent
female admitted to large urban-based
hospital treatment program
Following treatment, H felt closer to her family, had
gained significant weight, with a BMI of 19.5; had
accepted that she had an eating disorder; and was
taking responsibility for her recovery. The family
perceived sessions as very beneficial, evidenced by
positive ratings on such indices as the setting,
flexibility of scheduling, and suitability of
environment and atmosphere.
60
13.
GREALISH, A., HUNTER, A.,
GLAZEZ, R., POTTERZ, L.
(2005). Telemedicine in a
child and adolescent mental
health service: participants’
acceptance and utilization,
Journal of Telemedicine and
Telecare, 11 (Suppl. 1):
S1:53–55.
UK Quantitative and qualitative methods used.
Three sites were linked to the inpatient
service in Edinburgh. Data were collected via
questionnaires and diary logs. During a 24-
month study, a total of 65 adolescents were
admitted for inpatient care, of whom only
five had their cases reviewed and monitored
in a total of 20 teleconsultations.
The aim of the study was to examine
the quality of service from both the
adolescents’ and the referrers’
perspectives, with particular focus on
empowerment and enablement.
Adolescents and carers involved in the study
expressed great satisfaction with telemedicine and
were keen to use it. All five adolescents and their
carers reported that telemedicine was at least as
good as in-person consultation. Telemedicine was
preferable to travelling to see clinician, less
disruptive to school and home routine. Telemedicine
was felt to be as private as in-person consult.
Adolescents found it easy to take part in
teleconsultations.
Clinicians were initially apprehensive and hesitant
about using telemedicine for their clinical
consultation, but took one session, supported by
technical training from researcher, to reduce
anxieties. Clinicians expressed great satisfaction with
teleconsultation as they found it increased
collaboration between sites, and facilitated peer
reviews and more rapid feedback from inpatient
staff. They found telemedicine useful for discussing
case histories, current presentation and treatment
plans. Inpatient staff noted that telemedicine
improved communication and efficiency between all
parties involved in the adolescent’s care, as they did
not have to go into lengthy discussion updating other
clinicians about the inpatient treatment and
progress. In addition, all parties involved in the
adolescent’s care were able to attend the
consultation, and this was identified as a further
strength. Adolescents and their families felt they
were ‘spoken to, rather than at’. Adolescents found
that telemedicine promoted the transfer of power
and control, by making them feel more comfortable
about terminating the consultation or walking out.
They found the process more structured, and
consequently felt they were better informed, which
resulted in them understanding their problems
better. Adolescents experienced increased
participation in, and a sense of shared responsibility
for, decision-making regarding their health care.
61
14.
GREENBERG, N., BOYDELL,
K.M. VOLPE, T. (2006).
Pediatric telepsychiatry in
Ontario: Service provider and
caregiver perspectives.
Journal of Behavioral Health
Services & Research, 105-111.
CANADA Qualitative, exploratory methods were
utilized because of the complex nature of
mental health services needs and provision in
rural communities. Focus groups with rural
mental health service providers and
interviews with family caregivers of children
receiving a telepsychiatry consultation were
conducted.
To evaluate the benefits and limitations
of providing pediatric psychiatric
services via video-technology to inform
future program development and
health policy.
Concerns expressed about limitations of available
services, in terms of extent of services available via
the technology and in terms of support and
management services available locally. A major
concern of caregivers and service providers was on
need for more local support and medical services to
oversee implementation of treatment
recommendations resulting from telepsychiatry
consults; Two key functions served by availability of
telepsychiatry services, namely, enhanced capacity
for service providers and reduced burden on
caregivers, as well as a key frustration with the
limitations of available telepsychiatry and support
services, described by both service provider and
caregivers.
15. HILTY, D.M., YELLOWLEES,
P.M., NESBITT, T.S. (2006).
Evolution of telepsychiatry to
rural sites: changes over time
in types of referral and in
primary care providers’
knowledge, skills and
satisfaction. General Hospital
Psychiatry,28, 367–373
USA Data with regard to patient demographics,
diagnoses, reason for consultation,
medication dosing and satisfaction were
prospectively collected on the first 200 and
the subsequent 200 telepsychiatric initial
consultations.
To assess changes over time in
utilization of telepsychiatric services by
individual primary care providers (PCPs)
and clinics in rural areas, specifically: (a)
types of referrals for telepsychiatry
service; (b) PCPs’ knowledge and skills
related to medication dosing; and (c)
PCPs’ satisfaction with telepsychiatry.
Rural providers and clinics appear to use
telepsychiatric consultations differently over time,
and they are very satisfied with the service. Over
time, PCPs were significantly more likely to seek help
with new treatment plans and current treatment
plans, rather than with diagnosis, helping them
provide more care in the medical clinic without
delay. PCPs’ satisfaction also improved over time and
was the driving force for these changes.
PCPs significantly improved medication dosing over
time, perhaps due to education interventions.
Rural PCPs’ perception of being able to treat more
patients over time.
16. HILTY, D.M., YELLOWLEES,
P.M., SONIK, P., DERLET, M.,
HENDREN, R.L. (2009). Rural
child and adolescent
telepsychiatry: Successes and
struggles. Pediatric Annals,
38, 4, 228-232.
USA
Review of existing literature.
To review current state of the art in
pediatric telepsychiatry.
Many models of service delivery have been
researched and summarized. Literature indicates that
telepsychiatry has many improved outcomes. If rural
PCPs have adequate, customized telepsychiatric
support, they appear better able to diagnose and
manage mental health issues. The quality of cost
data in the literature is suboptimal and little
information has been collected in a systematic, con-
trolled, prospective fashion.
62
17.
HOCKEY, A.D., YELLOWLEES,
P.M., MURPHY, S. (2004).
Evaluation of a pilot second-
opinion child telepsychiatry
service. Journal of
Telemedicine and Telecare,
10(Suppl. 1), S1:48–50.
AUS To evaluate the service, patient medical
history, dates when a referral was received
by the service and when consultation was
performed, duration of each
videoconference, and the sub-specialties
attending the videoconference were
collected. To identify barriers to use of the
service, a questionnaire was administered to
referring and non-referring CYMHS teams.
To pilot a second-opinion child
psychiatry service for six months.
The mean time between a referral being made and a
consultation being performed was 4.7 days. Major
barriers to service implementation included the
limited allied health applications that were offered, a
perceived lack of communication during the
implementation phase of the service, and the
creation of a new referral network that did not
conform to traditional referral patterns in the north
of Queensland. Considerable groundwork is required
to engender confidence about the utility of such a
service in rural and remote areas.
18. KEILMAN, P. (2005).
Telepsychiatry with child
welfare families referred to a
family service agency.
Telemedicine and e-
Health,11(1), 98-101.
USA Participants received formal written consult
reports after the videoconference sessions,
which included recommendations.
Participants completed an anonymous
questionnaire to rate various aspects of
videoconferencing
To investigate whether the quality and
acceptance of telemedicine
consultations were comparable to face-
to-face interactions in a group referred
by a state child welfare agency.
Participants rated the university staff as involved,
enjoyed the Family Resource Center staff’s presence,
felt the procedure was useful for evaluation
purposes, found the format allowed for discussions
of problems, and felt that the for- mat was useful
when compared to face-to-face consultations. The
participants also said they had followed up on many
of the recommendations. Videoconferencing appears
to be a viable approach for providing consultation for
families referred by a state child welfare agency.
Several participants rated the session as both
educational and consultative compared to simply
therapeutic.
19.
KOPEL, H., NUNN, K.,
DOSSETOR, D. (2001).
Evaluating satisfaction with a
child and adolescent
psychological telemedicine
outreach service. Journal of
Telemedicine and Telecare, 7
(Suppl. 2): S2, 35–40.
AUS Three separate evaluation packages were
designed for CHW clinicians, rural clinicians,
and young people and their families or
carers. Objectives were to evaluate
satisfaction with the telepsychiatry service
and to evaluate the effect of the technology
on consultations and service provision. The
project evaluator was responsible for the
distribution and collection of packages to
each rural area
To measure satisfaction with the
service and in so doing demonstrate the
successes and failures of telepsychiatry
services for rural New South Wales
(NSW).
Results of the evaluation study showed high
satisfaction ratings by rural health workers, young
people and their parents/carers of the telepsychiatry
service provided by child psychiatrists from the CHW.
This undoubtedly was the overwhelming and
surprising success of the CAPTOS.
CHW clinicians were astonished that rural families
responded so positively to being provided with a
child psychiatry consultation via videoconferencing.
In addition, rural clinicians evidently experienced the
videoconferencing service as helpful and supportive.
63
20.
LAU, M.E., WAY, B.B.,
FREMONT, W.P. (2011).
Assessment of SUNY upstate
medical university’s child
telepsychiatry consultation
program. Int’l. J. Psychiatry In
Medicine,42(1) 93-104.
USA Data for 45 patients was extracted from pre-
consultation forms completed by the
referring clinic and post- consultation
summaries completed by the upstate
psychiatrists.
assesses the child telepsychiatry
services provided by SUNY Upstate
psychiatrists to several county mental
health clinics in central New York State
The child telepsychiatric program at Upstate seemed
effective. It reached a large variety of children with
significant mental disorders. The consultants
provided diagnostic clarification and recommended
modification of treatment for most. However, this
assessment is limited as examined as it did not
include follow-up information on whether consultant
recommendations were followed and, if they were,
whether they were effective.
21. MILLER, T.W., KRAUS,
R.FOTTO KAAK, O., SPRANG,
R., BURTON, D. (2002).
Telemedicine: A child
psychiatry case report.
Telemedicine Journal and e-
Health, 6(1), 139.
USA Case study of a young boy in a rural school in
Kentucky.
To describe how a child psychiatrist in a
rural health care setting provided the
necessary comprehensive consultation
and clinical services through the use of
telemedicine technology
Telemedicine provided needed clinical diagnostic and
case management consultation for rural school
system and rural clinical consultant for 9-year-old.
Clinical consultations for school personnel, in rural
school districts consulting psychologists, and rural
pediatricians viable option for telemedicine services.
Need for specialized clinical evaluations and
subsequent conferences involving parents, school
officials, counselors, school psychologists, physician
specialists, sometimes criminal justice professionals
via through telehealth consultation.
22. MITCHELL, S.A., MACLAREN,
A.T., MORTON, M., CARACHI,
R. (2009). Professional
opinions of the use of
telemedicine in child and
adolescent psychiatry.
Scottish Medical Journal,
54(3), 13-16.
UK Twenty-four CAMHS professionals with
experience of the telemedicine facility were
asked to complete questionnaires outlining
their opinions on the strengths and
weaknesses of the facility; 19 responded.
To examine the experience of CAMHS
professional users of Telemedicine in
Scotland, describing the major uses of
the Telemedicine facility.
Results showed a wide variety of professionals use
the facility and clinical work makes up majority of
use. An advantage to rural populations in Scotland
was considered the most important benefit. Saving
time and an improved method of communication
also highlighted as important. Failure of technology
and problems w sound quality were drawbacks.
Seventy nine percent stated they preferred
Telemedicine to Telephone conferencing.
23. MYERS, K.M., SULZBACHER,
MELZER, S.M. (2004).
Telepsychiatry with children
and adolescents: Are patients
comparable to those
evaluated in usual outpatient
care? Telemedicine Journal
and e-Health, 10(3), 278-285.
USA Participants included 369 patients 319 years
evaluated at two clinics. A telepsychiatry
clinic developed to provide services to under-
served communities, and a child and
adolescent psychiatric outpatient clinic
serving youth from metropolitan areas were
included in the study. Examined these 2
samples regarding demographics, payer
status, and diagnostic profiles.
To examine whether telepsychiatry
patients are representative of those in
usualoutpatient care.
Results indicated that youth evaluated through the
TPC were broadly comparable to youth evaluated in
the CAPOC. Therefore, telepsychiatry appears to
serve youth that are representative of those seeking
psychiatric care, and it is not restricted to youth with
no medical insurance or with selected diagnoses.
64
24.
MYERS, K.M., VALENTINE, J.,
MORGANTHALER, R.,
MELZER, S. (2006).
Telepsychiatry with
incarcerated youth. Journal
of Adolescent Health,38,
643–648
USA Interactive video conferencing was used to
connect a minimum-security correctional
facility with a regional telemedicine program.
Clinical records were reviewed to examine
utilization, demographics, diagnoses,
pharmacotherapy, and patient satisfaction.
To describe the use of telepsychiatry to
incarcerated youth.
During the 29-month study period, 115 youth were
treated over 275 sessions. Substance-use, behavioral,
and emotional disorders were highly prevalent.
Eighty percent (80%) of the youth were successfully
prescribed medications. Youth expressed confidence
with the psychiatrist’s recommendations but
expressed concerns about privacy.
25. MYERS, K.M., VALENTINE,
J.M., MELZER,S.M., (2007).
Feasibility, acceptability, and
sustainability of
telepsychiatry for children
and adolescents. Psychiatric
Services, 58(11), 1493-1497.
USA
Review of one-year utilization provided
feasibility data. Surveys of referring
physicians examined acceptability of
telepsychiatry. Reimbursement records
provided sustainability data.
To examine the feasibility,
acceptability, and sustainability of a
telepsychiatry service for children and
adolescents living in nonmetropolitan
communities
Referring providers endorsed high satisfaction with
telepsychiatric care, although pediatricians were
consistently more satisfied than family physicians.
Sustainability of telepsychiatry is challenged by
infrastructure costs and low reimbursement by public
payers.
26. MYERS, K.M., CAIN, S. (2008).
Practice parameter for
telepsychiatry with children
and adolescents. J. Am. Acad.
Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 47,
(12)
USA Literature search covered 1986-2007 and
yielded 438 articles, which were reviewed.
Second, searched known Web sites
addressing tele- medicine and telepsychiatry
such as the Telemedicine Information
Exchange (tie.telemed.org). Queried
coworkers and members of the special
interest group of the American Telemedicine
Association (ATA) regarding source material.
Consulted with telemedicine clinicians at
various centers nationally and
internationally.
To identify best practices for
telepsychiatric care. This parameter is
the first attempt to develop such
guidelines with children and
adolescents and is intentionally flexible
for adaptation to both current and
future technology and resources.
Because telepsychiatry is a fast-evolving
field, periodic updates may be needed.
A list of 14 guideline parameters were identified:
The Need for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services and
Whether Telepsychiatry Is an Option for Meeting That Need
Should Be Determined
Sustainability of the Telepsychiatry Service Should Be
Determined
The Patient Population, the Model of Health Service
Delivery, and Services to Be Offered Should Be Determined
The Infrastructure Needed to Support the Services Provided
Should Be Determined
Legal and Regulatory Issues Should Be Determined
Management Strategies for the Telepsychiatry Service
Should Be Established
Appropriate Equipment and Technological Specifications
Should Be Determined
Quality and Clinical Outcome Indicators Should Be
Developed
Rapport, Confidence, and Collaboration With Staff at the
Patient Site Should Be Fostered
Consent and Assent Procedures Should Be Established
The Physical Setting Should Be Arranged, and the Virtual
Relationship Should Be Established to Produce an Optimal
Clinical Encounter
It Should Be Determined Whether the Youth Can Be
Interviewed Alone; If Not, Potential Alternative Means to
Conduct a Mental Status Examination Should Be Identified
Procedures for Prescribing Medications Should Be
Established
Families Should Be Informed About Procedures for Care
Between Telepsychiatry Sessions, Including Procedures for
Emergency or Urgent Care.
65
27.
MYERS, K.M., VALENTINE,
J.M. MELZER. S.M. (2008).
Child and adolescent
telepsychiatry: Utilization
and satisfaction.
Telemedicine and e-Health,
14(2), 131-137.
USA Twelve-month review of billing records
provided utilization data. Surveys of parents’
satisfaction over 12 months examined
whether parents would accept and be
satisfied with the care rendered to their
children.
To examine whether telepsy- chiatry
could be successful in providing needed
services.
Parents endorsed high satisfaction with their
children’s telepsychiatric care, with an indication of
increasing satisfaction upon return appointments.
Parents demonstrated some differential satisfaction,
tending to higher satisfaction with their school-aged
children’s care and lower satisfaction with their
adolescents’ care. Telepsychiatry offered through a
regional children’s hospital was well utilized and
parents were highly satisfied with their children’s
care.
28. MYERS, K.M., VANDER
STOEP, A., MCCARTY, C.A.,
KLEIN, J.B., PALMER, N.B.,
GEYER, J.R., MELZER, S.M.
(2010). Child and adolescent
telepsychiatry: variations in
utilization, referral patterns
and practice trends. Journal
of Telemedicine and Telecare,
16,128–133
USA Service utilization data, patient
demographics and diagnoses were collected
for the period from the service
To identify variations in utilization
referral patterns and practice trends.
Paediatricians referred to the service more
frequently than family physicians. Utilization varied
across referring sites and was largely dependent
upon the availability of telepsychiatrists.
Telepsychiatry with young people is feasible,
acceptable and increases access to mental health
care. Four core components necessary to a successful
telepsychiatry programme: psychiatrists interested in
exploring new ways to reach underserved young
people; clearly identified stakeholders who can
collaborate with one another to make good use of
the telepsychiatry service; a children’s mental health
‘champion’ who represents these stakeholders and
wants services for their community; and a stable
administration that perceives telepsychiatry as
valuable for their patients and their doctors.
29.
NELSON, E.L., BARNARD, M.
& CAIN, S. (2003). Treating
childhood depression over
videoconferencing.Telemedic
ine Journal and e-Health,
9(1), 49-55.
USA Children were assessed for childhood
depression using the mood section of the
Schedule for Affective Disorders and
Schizophrenia for School Age Children
Present Episode (K-SADS- P). Twenty-eight
children randomized to F2F or VC treatment.
The participants completed the K-SADS-P and
the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) at
pre- and post- treatment.
To evaluate an 8-week, cognitive-
behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention
for childhood depression either face-to-
face (F2F) or over VC.
Attendance rates did not significantly var