Randomized Clinical Trial of Telepsychiatry through Videoconference versus Face-to-Face Conventional Psychiatric Treatment

University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria
Telemedicine and e-Health (Impact Factor: 1.67). 07/2006; 12(3):341-50. DOI: 10.1089/tmj.2006.12.341
Source: PubMed


Although telepsychiatry in the form of videoconferencing has been well received in terms of increasing access to care and user satisfaction, few data on treatment outcomes and efficacy from telepsychiatry applications are available at the present time. This paper evaluates the efficacy of telepsychiatry through videoconference in the treatment of mental disorders by comparing to face-to-face conventional (F2FC) treatment. We carried out a randomized clinical trial where 140 psychiatric outpatients were randomized to either F2FC treatment or videoconference telepsychiatry (VCTP) treatment. Patients were diagnosed according to International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD-10) criteria using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Treatment involves eight consultations lasting 30 minutes over the 24-week study period. Patients received pertinent psychotropic medication plus cognitive- behavioral therapy during sessions. The same psychiatrist diagnosed and treated all the patients that were recruited from the Community Mental Health Centre of San Sebastian de la Gomera, in the Canary Islands. Change in psychiatric test scores served as the primary efficacy criterion. Efficacy was determined by comparing baseline (visit 1) Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness (CGI-S) and -Improvement (CGI-I) scales as well as Global Indexes (GSI, PSDI, and PST) from SCL-90R with scores obtained at the end of the study period (week 24). Response was defined as a CGI-I score of 1 or 2. Reliable Change Indexes were computed in SCL-90R Global Indexes scores. Of 140 patients randomized, 130 completed 24 weeks of treatment. Only 4 patients dropped out prematurely from the study in VCTP and 6 in F2FC. The study involves 534 teleconsultations, 522 F2FC consultations, and more than 500 hours of clinical practice. Significant improvements were found on the CGI and SCL-90- R Global Indexes scores of both treatment groups, showing clear clinical state improvement. No statistically significant differences were observed when the efficacy of VCTP treatment was compared to F2FC psychiatric treatment efficacy. This study demonstrated that telepsychiatry treatment through videoconference has equivalent efficacy to F2FC psychiatric treatment. Telepsychiatry showed to be an effective mean of delivering mental health services to psychiatric outpatients living in remote areas with limited resources.

Download full-text


Available from: Carlos De las Cuevas, Jan 14, 2015
  • Source
    • "The strengths of telemental health include well-documented patient and provider satisfaction for a range of services [9-15]; strong support for the reliability of clinical assessments (eg, neuropsychological testing, clinical interviews, and mental status exams) relative to face-to-face assessments [16-20]; and evidence that medical patients would choose to receive it if it was available and would improve their access to care [21]. In addition, research has documented the effectiveness of telepsychiatry to treat specific mental health diagnoses such as depression [22-24] and anxiety disorders [25-27], as well as its effectiveness with specific populations including incarcerated patients [28,29], children and adolescents [30], rural populations [13,31,32] and older adults [16,33-35]. The weaknesses identified in the research literature include a paucity of rigorous cost and efficacy studies, particularly for specific populations, and lack of research into the legal, ethical and regulatory issues inherent in this application of technology to clinical practice [6,7,36]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Older adults who live in rural areas experience significant disparities in health status and access to mental health care. "Telepsychology," (also referred to as "telepsychiatry," or "telemental health") represents a potential strategy towards addressing this longstanding problem. Older adults may benefit from telepsychology due to its: (1) utility to address existing problematic access to care for rural residents; (2) capacity to reduce stigma associated with traditional mental health care; and (3) utility to overcome significant age-related problems in ambulation and transportation. Moreover, preliminary evidence indicates that telepsychiatry programs are often less expensive for patients, and reduce travel time, travel costs, and time off from work. Thus, telepsychology may provide a cost-efficient solution to access-to-care problems in rural areas. We describe an ongoing four-year prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of an empirically supported treatment for major depressive disorder, Behavioral Activation, delivered either via in-home videoconferencing technology ("Telepsychology") or traditional face-to-face services ("Same-Room"). Our hypothesis is that in-homeTelepsychology service delivery will be equally effective as the traditional mode (Same-Room). Two-hundred twenty-four (224) male and female elderly participants will be administered protocol-driven individual Behavioral Activation therapy for depression over an 8-week period; and subjects will be followed for 12-months to ascertain longer-term effects of the treatment on three outcomes domains: (1) clinical outcomes (symptom severity, social functioning); (2) process variables (patient satisfaction, treatment credibility, attendance, adherence, dropout); and (3) economic outcomes (cost and resource use). Results from the proposed study will provide important insight into whether telepsychology service delivery is as effective as the traditional mode of service delivery, defined in terms of clinical, process, and economic outcomes, for elderly patients with depression residing in rural areas without adequate access to mental health services. National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials Registry ( identifier# NCT00324701).
    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Trials
  • Source
    • "A scoping search of literature published since the original searches were undertaken has returned only a small number of additional studies [64-66]. One presents data already included in the present review [64]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Access to psychotherapy is limited by psychopathology (e.g. agoraphobia), physical disability, occupational or social constraints and/or residency in under-served areas. For these populations, interventions delivered via remote communication technologies (e.g. telephone, internet) may be more appropriate. However, there are concerns that such delivery may influence the therapeutic relationship and thus reduce therapy effectiveness. This review aimed to determine the clinical effectiveness of remotely communicated, therapist-delivered psychotherapy. Systematic review (including electronic database searching and correspondence with authors) of randomised trials of individual remote psychotherapy. Electronic databases searched included MEDLINE (1966-2006), PsycInfo (1967-2006), EMBASE (1980-2006) and CINAHL databases (1982-2006). The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Register (CCDAN-CTR). All searches were conducted to include studies with a publication date to July 2006. Thirteen studies were identified, ten assessing psychotherapy by telephone, two by internet and one by videoconference. Pooled effect sizes for remote therapy versus control conditions were 0.44 for depression (95%CI 0.29 to 0.59, 7 comparisons, n = 726) and 1.15 for anxiety-related disorders (95%CI 0.81 to 1.49, 3 comparisons, n = 168). There were few comparisons of remote versus face-to-face psychotherapy. Remote therapy has the potential to overcome some of the barriers to conventional psychological therapy services. Telephone-based interventions are a particularly popular research focus and as a means of therapeutic communication may confer specific advantages in terms of their widespread availability and ease of operation. However, the available evidence is limited in quantity and quality. More rigorous trials are required to confirm these preliminary estimates of effectiveness. Future research priorities should include overcoming the methodological shortcomings of published work by conducting large-scale trials that incorporate both clinical outcome and more process-orientated measures.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2008 · BMC Psychiatry
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Not Available
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jul 1997
Show more