Telepsychiatry: Benefits and costs in a changing health-care environment

  • Waugh M
  • Voyles D
  • Thomas M
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Abstract

In the USA, the high cost and inefficiencies of the health care system have prompted widespread demand for a better value on investment. Reform efforts, focused on increasing effective, cost-efficient, and patient-centred practices, are inciting lasting changes to health care delivery. Integrated care, providing team-based care that addresses both physical and behavioural health needs is growing as an evidence-based way to provide improved care with lower overall costs. This in turn, is leading to an increasing demand for psychiatrists to work with primary care physicians in delivering integrated care. Telepsychiatry is an innovative platform that has a variety of benefits to patients, providers, and systems. Associated costs are changing as technology advances and policies shift. The purpose of this article is to describe the changing role of psychiatry within the environment of U.S. healthcare reform, and the benefits (demonstrated and potential) and costs (fixed, variable, and reimbursable) of telepsychiatry to providers, patients and systems.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Costs
  • Healthcare Reform
  • Integrated Care
  • Psychiatry
  • Telepsychiatry
  • Value

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Authors

  • Maryann Waugh

  • Debbie Voyles

  • Marshall R. Thomas

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