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A randomized clinical trial of home-based telepsychiatric outpatient care via videoconferencing: design, methodology, and implementation

Author(s): Hungerbuehler, Ines; Leite, Rodrigo Fonseca Martins; Bilt, Martinus Theodorus Van de; Gattaz, Wagner Farid
Source: Rev. psiquiatr. clín. (São Paulo);42(3): 76-78, May-Jun/2015.
[Evidence in LILACS ID: 797119 ] Language(s): English
Healthcare providers are continuously challenged to find innovative, cost-effective alternatives and to scale up existent services to meet the growing demand upon mental health care delivery. Due to continuous advances in technologies, telepsychiatry has become an effective tool for psychiatric care. In 2012, the Institute of Psychiatry of the University of São Paulo Medical School started a randomized clinical trial of home-based telepsychiatric outpatient care via videoconferencing. Objective: The objective of this article is to describe the design, methodology and implementation of a pilot project, which aimed to verify the applicability and efficiency of psychiatric attendance via Internet-based videoconferencing in a resource-constrained environment. Methods: The project consisted of a 12 months follow-up study with a randomized clinical trial, which compared various quality indicators between home-based telepsychiatric aftercare via videoconferencing and face-to-face aftercare. Results: The final sample comprised 107 outpatients (53 in the telepsychiatry group and 54 in the control group). Among 1,227 realized consultations, 489 were held by videoconferencing. Satisfaction with the aftercare by videoconferencing and the medication delivery was high among patients. Attending psychiatrists were satisfied with the assistance by videoconferencing. Discussion: The experiences during this pilot project have overall been very positive and psychiatric outpatient care by videoconferencing seems viable to treat patients even in a resource-constrained environment...