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Telepsychiatry in intellectual disability psychiatry: literature review

  • Giri Madhavan (a1)
Aims and Method

The aims of this review were to explore the effectiveness and patient and provider acceptability of telepsychiatry consultations in intellectual disability, contrasting this with direct face-to-face consultations and proposing avenues for further research and innovation. Computerised searches of databases including AMED and EMBASE were conducted.


Four USA studies of intellectual disability telepsychiatry services have been reported. The majority (75%) focused on children with intellectual disability. Sample sizes ranged from 38 to 900 participants, with follow-up from 1 to 6 years. Outcome measures varied considerably and included cost savings to patients and healthcare providers, patient and carer satisfaction and new diagnoses.

Clinical implications

The innovations summarised suggest a requirement to further explore telepsychiatry models. Despite some promising outcomes, there is a relative dearth in the existing literature. Further studies in other healthcare systems are required before concluding that telepsychiatry in intellectual disability is the best approach for providing psychiatric services to this population.

Declaration of interest


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Dr Giri Madhavan (
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Telepsychiatry in intellectual disability psychiatry: literature review

  • Giri Madhavan (a1)
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