Integrating Telepsychiatric Services into the Conventional Systems for Psychiatric Support to Health Care Workers and Their Children during COVID-19 Pandemics: Results from A National Experience

Onur Burak Dursun, Bahadir Turan, Murat Pakyürek, Ahmet Tekin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: A system presented here was established to provide psychiatric help for health care workers (HCWs) that combined telehealth applications with local psychosocial support teams, allowing services from video calls to emergency interventions. Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a system that combined telehealth applications with local psychosocial support teams. Materials and Methods: A mobile application-based approach supported by the conventional local units was used. A three-step approach including contacting live operators followed by video calls from psychiatrists or child and adolescent psychiatrists and if necessary local unit support was used to provide support. Results: In addition to system records covering sociodemographic variables and initial complaints, a telephone survey, questioning the effectiveness and satisfaction of the system, was used as the main outcome. The number of individuals who asked for a psychiatrist appointment from operators after downloading the application was 1,076 (n = 879 [81.6%] support for self) (n = 197 [18.4%] support for child). Four hundred forty-nine (n = 449) HCWs (41.7%) replied video calls and received psychiatric help from psychiatrists on the time of appointment (n = 351 [78.1%] support for self) (n = 98 [21.8%] support for child). The overall satisfaction level of HCWs for the service they received was 8.1/10 (8.1/10 for support for self, 8.4/10 for support for the child. 86.6% (n = 389). Discussion: The findings of this study suggest that although telepsychiatry may be useful in public health emergencies such as COVID-19 pandemics should not be consisted of only telephone lines or video calls. Conclusions: Systems combining telehealth applications and local intervention teams may be more effective and establishing such organizations is possible in short intervals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • behavioral health
  • psychiatry
  • smartphones
  • telemedicine
  • telepsychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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