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Remote delivery of mental health care across the US has increased dramatically


According to a national study led by researchers at the Commonwealth University of Virginia, the pandemic of COVID-19 has shifted an amazing number of psychologists across the United States to provide mental health care to distant patients.

COVID-19 Telepsychology Revolution: National Study of Pandemic-based Changes in US Mental Health Care Delivery American psychologist, Involved in a survey of 2,619 qualified psychologists across the country, it found that the volume of clinical research conducted through telepsychology has increased by a factor of 12 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, psychologists reported that 7.07% of clinical psychology was done in telepsychology. During the pandemic, the number soared to 85.53%. The study also found that 67.32% of psychologists reported that all clinical studies were conducted in telepsychology.

“I was shocked to see how fast telepsychology was adopted,” said first author Brad Pierce, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology in Humanities.

Moving from 7% to more than 85% of clinical work means a lot of hard work in a very short time. The community has had a concerted effort to identify and remove longstanding barriers. Psychologists sought additional training, purchased equipment, and adjusted policies at all levels to facilitate telemedicine and telepsychology. “

Faculty of Humanities, Department of Psychology, Research Lead Author and PhD Student, Brad Pierce

Pierce is part of VCU’s Institute of Social Justice on Disability and Health to understand and dismantle barriers to psychological services faced by poorly serviced groups with disabilities and chronic health conditions aims for. As part of that research, the institute has conducted research into the potential adoption of telepsychology and addressing the health care gap.

“When the need for physical distance became apparent, I was proud of the mental health care community’s response to COVID-19,” Pierce said. “People still needed psychological services and the community rolled up their sleeves to get the job done. Our team is aware that a revolution is happening, and we know these changes I wanted to get insights when it was happening.”

After the pandemic is over, research predicts that many psychologists will continue to treat patients remotely. According to this study, psychologists predicted that 34.96% of their clinical studies would continue to be conducted in telepsychology.

“We hope these trends show that psychology as a field can adapt to the needs of both providers and patients,” said Grace, co-author of the Mid-Atlantic Psychiatric Research and Education.・Dr. McKee said. He is a Senior Psychology Fellow at the Center for Central Virginia VA Healthcare Systems and a member of the VCU Department of Psychology.

Of course, we didn’t need the first wave of telepsychology during the pandemic, but our findings show that, whether it’s direct participation or safe, there are benefits to continuing to deliver in the future. Suggests that. “

Telepsychology may be more convenient for both health care providers and patients, especially when it comes to financial or transportation constraints, conflicts with work schedules, responsibilities such as caring for children and families, or mobility. Problems due to illness or disability, for people who may have difficulty meeting in person.

At the same time, many psychologists and patients may prefer face-to-face treatment, and many patients do not have the private and secure space needed to use technology and telepsychology.

“The flexibility to provide both face-to-face and telepsychology services is important to meet patient needs and make psychological services more accessible,” McKee said.

Researchers found a major shift to telepsychology, but the trends were not uniform across occupations.

Psychologists working in outpatient settings showed a particularly high increase, with research finding more than a 26-fold increase in use of telepsychology during the pandemic. On the other hand, psychologists working at Veterans Medical Centers reported a seven-fold increase, probably due to the high usage of telepsychology at VA Medical Centers prior to the pandemic.

A significant increase in telepsychology adoption has been attributed to women, psychologists who have access to telepsychology and supportive organizational policy training, and psychologists who have worked in situations specializing in relationship issues, anxiety and women’s issues. Was seen between

“Historically, women have tended to provide the majority of childcare. Female psychologists with children have been particularly interested in providing childcare at home, especially in most schools and during the day. I think I may have had to use telepsychology at a higher rate, so my worries are gone.”

“By contrast, men may have been able to continue some face-to-face clinical work, especially if there were partners who could provide childcare.”

The lowest increase in telepsychology has been found among psychologists working in rural areas and in an environment dedicated to the treatment of antisocial personality disorders, the performance of tests and assessments, and the treatment of rehabilitation groups.

Dr Paul Perrin, associate professor of the Department of Psychology and Director of Social Justice at the Institute for the Disabled and Health, said the study was a “COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Other events in modern history have changed psychological service delivery to this extent,” said Perrin, a co-author of the study and a research psychologist co-appointed with the Central Virginia Veterans Health Management System. No.”

“Many of the barriers to the use of telepsychology that have been advertised over the years have been dramatically reduced, or even completely removed, with unprecedented developments in technology-based mental health treatment. The field of psychology adapts to the identified pandemic and unmet mental health needs across the United States.”

Perrin mentioned one of the key limitations of the study. It reflects the rapid and widespread adoption of telepsychology, but it is clear how that change meets the mental health needs of patients, especially groups of people experiencing health care disparities. I haven’t.

“I believe we need to do more in terms of bringing evidence-based practice to those who are often left behind in traditional mental health care.”

“The practice of telepsychology presupposes many things, such as technology, internet, telephone, and even patient access to telepsychology payment options. Telepsychology was launched during the pandemic. Despite the potential to rise to some of your mental health needs, there are still many restrictions that need to be addressed and barriers to their use.”


See journal:

Earrings, BS, other.. (2020) COVID-19 Telepsychological Revolution: A Nationwide Study of Pandemic-Based Changes in US Mental Healthcare Provision. American psychologist..


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