Efficacy of Telepsychiatry in the Treatment of Depression

Overview

Telepsychiatry is a novel means of providing expert psychiatric treatment to patients who live far from a source of care. If it can be demonstrated that treatment via telepsychiatry is as effective as in-person treatment, then many individuals with psychiatric illness will have easy access to psychiatric care, even if they live in geographically remote areas.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)

Detailed Description

Background:

Telepsychiatry is a novel means of providing expert psychiatric treatment to patients who live far from a source of care. If it can be demonstrated that treatment via telepsychiatry is as effective as in-person treatment, then many individuals with psychiatric illness will have easy access to psychiatric care, even if they live in geographically remote areas.

Objectives:

The major goal of this study was to determine whether treatment of depressive disorders via telepsychiatry is as effective as in-person treatment. In addition, this study was designed to determine if depressed patients are as compliant and as satisfied with telepsychiatry as with in-person treatment. Another goal was to compare the cost and cost-effectiveness of remote treatment via telepsychiatry to in-person treatment.

Methods:

In this randomized controlled trial, veterans who presented with depression to any of three VA Maryland Health Care facilities with a SCID-IV depression diagnosis and a Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (Ham-D) score of 16 or above were eligible for participation. Eligible veterans were randomized to either "in-person" treatment or "remote" treatment. Treatment occurred over six months and consisted of psychotropic medication and psycho-education concerning the disease, medications, and side effects. The major outcome variables included changes in Ham-D depression ratings and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) self-reported depression ratings.

Status:

Completed.

Interventions

  • Procedure: Telepsychiatry

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Other: Arm 1

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

Depression, Hamilton 16 or above, SCID-IV depression diagnosis

Exclusion Criteria

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: N/A

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Paul E. Ruskin, MD, Principal Investigator, Baltimore VA Medical Center VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, MD

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