New guidance is available from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) to assist in the development and delivery of effective and safe interactive videoconferencing-based mental health services. This kind of telemental health service can increase access to quality healthcare, and has shown in some settings to be more effective than in-person treatment. These new best practices are published in Telemedicine and e-Health.
The article entitled "Best Practices in Videoconferencing-Based Telemental Health" was a team effort, coauthored by Jay Shore, MD, MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Aurora) and colleagues from University of California, Davis (Sacramento), The University of Louisville School of Medicine (KY), HealthLinkNow (Sacramento CA), The University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine (Iowa City), Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA), Seattle Children's Hospital (WA), Portland Veterans Affairs Health Care System (OR), Orbit Health Telepsychiatry (Encino, CA), and Northern California Veterans Affairs Health Care System (Sacramento).
The new best practices are based on expert consensus, research evidence, available resources, and patient needs. They cover a wide range of topics including emergency situations, technical considerations, choice of location for the videoconference, and privacy, security, and HIPAA. The section on clinical considerations includes patient and setting selection, ethical considerations, and cultural issues. The guidance also covers special populations, such as children and adolescents, geriatric patients, and those individuals who work within correctional facilities, work with active military personnel or veterans, substance use disorder treatment, and those who work in inpatient or residential facilities.
"These guidelines are an attestation of the expertise this collection of subject matter experts, who have devoted their careers to enhancing healthcare through the integration of telemedicine and telehealth, have brought to the challenges of mental health," says Co-Editor-in-Chief Charles R. Doarn, MBA, Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio.
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