The Transition of Academic Mental Health Clinics to Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic
OBJECTIVE:A consortium of eight academic child and adolescent psychiatry programs in the United States and Canada examined their pivot from in-person, clinic-based services to home-based telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aims were to document the transition across diverse sites and present recommendations for future telehealth service planning. METHOD/METHODS:Consortium sites completed a Qualtrics survey assessing site characteristics, telehealth practices, service utilization, and barriers to and facilitators of telehealth service delivery prior to (pre) and during the early stages of (post) the COVID-19 pandemic. The design is descriptive. RESULTS:All sites pivoted from in-person services to home-based telehealth within two weeks. Some sites experienced delays in conducting new intakes and most experienced delays establishing tele-group therapy. No-show rates and utilization of telephony versus videoconferencing varied by site. Changes in telehealth practices (e.g., documentation requirements, safety protocols) and perceived barriers to telehealth service delivery (e.g., regulatory limitations, inability to bill) occurred pre/post-COVID-19. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:A rapid pivot from in-person services to home-based telehealth occurred at eight diverse academic programs in the context of a global crisis. To promote ongoing use of home-based telehealth during future crises and usual care, academic programs should continue documenting the successes and barriers to telehealth practice to promote equitable and sustainable telehealth service delivery in the future.
Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry Education and Training
Telepsychiatry is used to deliver care to children and adolescents in a variety of settings. Limited literature exists on telepsychiatry education and training, and the vast majority does not address considerations unique to practicing telepsychiatry with youth. Without relevant education, clinical experience, and exposure to technology, child and adolescent psychiatrists may be resistant to integrating telepsychiatry into their practice. Additional research is needed to assess the current state of telepsychiatry education and training in child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship programs.