Accuracy of telepsychiatric assessment of new routine outpatient referrals

Singh, Surendra P.; Arya, Dinesh; Peters, Trish
January 2007
BMC Psychiatry;2007, Vol. 7, p55
Academic Journal
Background: Studies on the feasibility of telepsychiatry tend to concentrate only on a subset of clinical parameters. In contrast, this study utilises data from a comprehensive assessment. The main objective of this study is to compare the accuracy of findings from telepsychiatry with those from face to face interviews. Method: This is a primary, cross-sectional, single-cluster, balanced crossover, blind study involving new routine psychiatric referrals. Thirty-seven out of forty cases fulfilling the selection criteria went through a complete set of independent face to face and video assessments by the researchers who were blind to each other's findings. Results: The accuracy ratio of the pooled results for DSM-IV diagnoses, risk assessment, non-drug and drug interventions were all above 0.76, and the combined overall accuracy ratio was 0.81. There were substantial intermethod agreements for Cohen's kappa on all the major components of evaluation except on the Risk Assessment Scale where there was only weak agreement. Conclusion: Telepsychiatric assessment is a dependable method of assessment with a high degree of accuracy and substantial overall intermethod agreement when compared with standard face to face interview for new routine outpatient psychiatric referrals.


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