A community-based approach to evaluation of health outcomes and costs for telepsychiatry in a rural population: Preliminary results

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Abstract

A pilot trial was established to support visiting psychiatric services and local public and private practitioners through the use of videoconferencing. The purpose of the trial was to determine whether people in the community received better health-care with telemedicine. A community-based approach was used to evaluate health outcomes, costs, utilization, accessibility, quality and needs for such services in a rural community in Queensland. Over a two-year period data were collected from 124 subjects who met the criteria of having a mental health problem or mental disorder. Nine further subjects refused to participate in the study. Only 32 subjects used videoconferencing to receive mental health services. Preliminary results did not show any significant improvements in wellbeing or quality of life, although the time span was relatively short. However, the results confirmed that the people were no worse off from a consumer or a practitioner perspective from using videoconferencing. Most consumers found that videoconferencing with a psychiatrist moderately or greatly helped them in managing their treatment, with 98% of them preferring to be offered videoconferencing in combination with local services. Overall, videoconferencing is a crucial part of enhancing psychiatry services in rural areas. However, it is not necessarily cost-effective for all consumers, general practitioners, psychiatrists, or the public mental health service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Volume6
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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Videoconferencing
Rural Population
Health Care Costs
Psychiatry
Mental Health Services
Queensland
United States Public Health Service
Telemedicine
Mental Disorders
General Practitioners
Mental Health
Quality of Life
Delivery of Health Care
Costs and Cost Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "A pilot trial was established to support visiting psychiatric services and local public and private practitioners through the use of videoconferencing. The purpose of the trial was to determine whether people in the community received better health-care with telemedicine. A community-based approach was used to evaluate health outcomes, costs, utilization, accessibility, quality and needs for such services in a rural community in Queensland. Over a two-year period data were collected from 124 subjects who met the criteria of having a mental health problem or mental disorder. Nine further subjects refused to participate in the study. Only 32 subjects used videoconferencing to receive mental health services. Preliminary results did not show any significant improvements in wellbeing or quality of life, although the time span was relatively short. However, the results confirmed that the people were no worse off from a consumer or a practitioner perspective from using videoconferencing. Most consumers found that videoconferencing with a psychiatrist moderately or greatly helped them in managing their treatment, with 98{\%} of them preferring to be offered videoconferencing in combination with local services. Overall, videoconferencing is a crucial part of enhancing psychiatry services in rural areas. However, it is not necessarily cost-effective for all consumers, general practitioners, psychiatrists, or the public mental health service.",
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