Telemental Health Care: A Review of Efficacy and Interventions
Keywords:Telemedicine, Mental Health, Health Services Accessibility, Emergency Service, Hospital
Objective: Mental illness continues to rise in the United States, burdening a healthcare system set to dive further into a shortage of mental health practitioners. The effects of this are already being felt in many rural areas, which are all too frequently understaffed to address the mental health concerns of their populations. To further compound this growing crisis, COVID-19 has led to a reduction in access to in-person care. Furthermore, COVID-19 has led to reduced access to in-person care. As a result, Telehealth has become more essential. Knowledge of the strategies and barriers to implement a successful Telehealth program is necessary to deliver a sustainable, accessible, and quality care.
Design: In this review, we analyze published research on the efficacy of Telehealth for mental health, discuss how these services have been implemented, and explore how to address barriers to quality care delivery via Telehealth.
Results: Telehealth, when the appropriate resources and supports are considered, is effective in a wide range of patient populations and care locations. Multiple modalities, including via video, apps, and telephone were shown to be efficacious. Interventions have been shown to increase the accessibility to care without compromising quality of care.
Conclusions: Telehealth constitutes a well-researched, efficacious tool to address the issues in access to care. Telemental health programs should address the barriers to implementation, including training, access to technology, reimbursement and regulations, and adequate program oversight. Telehealth interventions should be strongly considered in areas facing shortages of mental health practitioners and long wait times for patients with mental health disorders, to reduce the burden of mental illness on healthcare.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Calvin T. Schaffer, Preeti Nakrani, Paul A. Pirraglia
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to Telehealth and Medicine Today (TMT).