Background: Telepsychiatry is the use of virtual communication, such as a video link, to deliver mental health assessment, treatment, and follow-up. Previous studies have shown telepsychiatry to be feasible, accurate compared with in-person practice, and satisfying for psychiatrists and patients. Telepsychiatry has also been associated with reduced waiting times for evaluation and, in some studies, lower admission rates. However, most previous studies focused on using telepsychiatry in community settings and not on involuntary admission. Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness and implementation process of patient assessment for involuntary admissions in the psychiatric emergency department (ED) using a video link. Methods: This type 1 hybrid implementation study will examine telepsychiatry effectiveness and the implementation process, by comparing telepsychiatry (n=240) with historical controls who had a face-to-face evaluation (n=240) during the previous, usual care period in 5 psychiatric EDs in Israel. A temporary waiver of the standing policy requiring in-person evaluations only, for the purpose of research, was obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Health. During the telepsychiatry phase, clinical staff and patients will join a video call from the ED, while the attending physician will log in elsewhere. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework will guide the evaluation of the telepsychiatry implementation process in the ED. PARIHS has the following 3 constructs: (1) evidence: staff’s opinions regarding the innovation’s viability and practicality, their satisfaction levels with its use, and patients’ perceptions of the change; (2) context: level of approval of new strategies in the ED, decision-making processes, and the manner in which clinical teams converse and work together; (3) facilitation: adequacy of the facilitation efforts using champions reports. Primary clinical outcomes include ED length of stay and violent incidents obtained from medical records. Results: This study received Helsinki approval from the Ethics Committee of Abarbanel Mental Health Center (174; March 13, 2023), Jerusalem Mental Health Center (22-21; November 6, 2022), Lev-Hasharon Mental Health Medical Center (LH12023; February 12, 2023), Tel-Aviv Medical Center (TLV-22-0656; January 3, 2023), and Sha’ar Menashe (1-4-23; April 18, 2023). Data collection began in July 2023 in 2 study sites and will begin soon at the others. Conclusions: Telepsychiatry could have significant benefits for patients in the psychiatric ED. Examining telepsychiatry effectiveness in the ED, in addition to identifying the facilitators and barriers of implementing it in different emergency settings, will facilitate better policy decisions regarding its implementation.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Ligat Shalev, Moises Bistre, Gadi Lubin, Keren Avirame, Sergey Raskin, Omer Linkovski, Renana Eitan, Adam J Rose.
- digital health service
- emergency department
- implementation science
- mental health
- organizational innovation
- Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services