Accreditation

Use telepsychiatry to improve assessments

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, June 1, 2008

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Telepsychiatry, or assessing the mental health of patients via an electronic connection, sounds more futuristic than it is. In fact, the practice is growing more common in hospitals across the country.

Some states prohibit telepsychiatry, whereas others make use of telepsychiatric links for various reasons, such as rural or isolated facilities that need full-time, 24-hour psychiatrists for assessments and massive campuses with separate behavioral health buildings. Although less technologically challenging than other telemedicine concepts, such as teleradiology, telepsychiatry comes with its own challenges and complications. However, when used properly, it provides a method of assessing patients in a more timely manner when psychiatric symptoms are more pronounced.

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