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Use of Telehealth in Mental Health Services During and After COVID-19

Publication Date: Jun 29, 2021

Use of Telehealth in Mental Health Services During and After COVID-19


Mental health services have undergone a rapid transition to telehealth and video technologies over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study, published in Community Mental Health Journal, examined the adoption of these technologies across the mental health service continuum, acceptance of these technologies, and the intention of providers to use these technologies following the pandemic.

 

Three hundred and twenty-seven organizations were represented in the survey. Services that involve one clinician and one client, such as individual therapy, were being delivered by the greatest number of respondents. Services being delivered by multi-disciplinary teams or involving multiple clients were less likely to be offered via telehealth. The mental health service that had the greatest percentage of telephone and video use was individual therapy at 89.8% for phones and 88.1% for video.

 

Telephone and video services each offered their own advantages. Telephone service was seen as more advantageous due to greater accessibility, ease of use, and affordability. Video service was seen as more advantageous due to an anticipation of being adequately reimbursed for services provided.

 

“Although findings from this survey indicate video-based telehealth services are viewed more favorably than telephone-based services, additional research is needed to identify which service modality can be delivered the most effectively. Similarly, because of its perceived patient ease of use and accessibility, telephone delivery may be supported for some clients. Hence, a diverse mix of service delivery modalities, including in-person services, may be needed to maximize flexibility, outcomes, and patient preferences.”


This article was co-authored by Thomasine Heitkamp, former co-director of the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.


Read the full journal article.

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