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Pediatric and Adolescent Telepsychiatry: Reaching out to underserved, rural areas

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Telepsychiatry allows a psychiatrist to easily and conveniently evaluate, consult with, and treat children and adolescents living in areas lacking sufficient numbers of healthcare providers. As a solution, CloudVisit Telepsychiatry links the doctor to the patient simply using a computer, webcam, and internet connection. The ease and comfort with which children and adolescents have using audio, video, and computer technology, makes them an ideal population for telepsychiatry solutions. The secure, HIPAA-compliant online video sessions feel as private and personal as face-to-face office visits, and have been proven to be just as beneficial.

Nearly one in five children and adolescents exhibit behaviors of a psychiatric disorder. Children can develop psychological and psychiatric disorders resulting from genetic factor or as a result of traumatic experiences at an early age. For those living in rural areas lacking adequate mental health care, there is an unquestionable need for telepsychiatry solutions. Treated consistently early-on, telepsychiatry can help the child return to mental health before reaching adolescence or adulthood, when such disorders may impact their ability to function in society.   
A shortage of pediatric and adolescent psychiatrists in certain areas of the country has created an immediate and urgent need for telepsychiatry solutions. Online video sessions are one answer in resolving this need particularly when considering some of its benefits for both patient and psychiatrist. 

Benefits of adolescent telepsychiatry for patients (and parents):

  • Obtaining mental health care when there are no psychiatrists nearby
  • Parents save travel and associated costs
  • Patients do not miss school and parents do not lose income for work absences
  • Successful treatment improves quality of life for both patient and family
  • A high level of patient satisfaction, compliance, and keeping appointments.

Benefits of adolescent telepsychiatry for provider: 

  • Ability to treat more patients 
  • Saving on travel and time traveling to  psychiatric facilities 
  • Ability to treat children/adolescents from remote areas where there are fewer psychiatrists
  • Patients are more compliant with treatment and keep their appointments
  • Parent's and patient's satisfaction
In treating mental health disorders among the pediatric and adolescent population, research indicates successful application of the telepsychiatry platform. Some areas where researchers are finding promise are:
  • Social trauma 
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Serious mental disorders, such as anxiety, depressive and psychotic disorders
  • Overweight patients
  • Emergency care 
Psychiatrists have voiced their comfort using online video sessions with children and adolescents. Providing telepsychiatry to patients who would not find the kind of treatment they need elsewhere is rewarding. Continuing education courses, as well as inclusion in university medical curriculum, will expand the geographical reach of telepsychiatry solutions in the future. 

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