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Telemental health: videoconferencing in mental health services

  • Sridhar Vaitheswaran, Philip Crockett, Sam Wilson and Harry Millar

Summary

Video technology was first used in psychiatric services in the 1950s but came into general use in the 1990s, particularly in North America and Australia. Video has utility across all ages and in a wide range of clinical situations. These include case conferencing for patients with complex problems (e.g. when planning discharge from specialist inpatient units), psychological assessment and treatment, Mental Health Act assessments, suicide risk assessment and work in forensic settings. Potential for benefit may be most obvious in remote locations, but video use is also relevant in urban settings. Lack of training and experience, inadequate access to equipment and insufficient technical support have all limited the take-up of this technology in the UK. This article briefly reviews the literature and outlines technical and cost considerations when using video technology. Three services in Scotland are described to illustrate ways in which videoconferencing can enhance services.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Philip Crockett, Consultant Psychiatrist, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen AB25 2ZH, UK. Email: philipcrockett@nhs.net

Footnotes

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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Telemental health: videoconferencing in mental health services

  • Sridhar Vaitheswaran, Philip Crockett, Sam Wilson and Harry Millar
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