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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare systems rapidly embraced technology as a means of providing care while adhering to social distancing protocols. In this brief article, we report on a new telehealth initiative recently implemented in an out-patient psychiatric setting and outline the novel role telehealth may serve in facilitating psychiatric care globally. The uptake of telehealth represents a new and exciting opportunity to increase both access to, and quality of, care for people with mental illness.
To determine the reliability of teleneuropsychological (TNP) compared to in-person assessments (IPA) in people with HIV (PWH) and without HIV (HIV−).
Participants included 80 PWH (Mage = 58.7, SDage = 11.0) and 23 HIV− (Mage = 61.9, SDage = 16.7). Participants completed two comprehensive neuropsychological IPA before one TNP during the COVID-19 pandemic (March–December 2020). The neuropsychological tests included: Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R Total and Delayed Recall), Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT; FAS-English or PMR-Spanish), Animal Fluency, Action (Verb) Fluency, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 3rd Edition (WAIS-III) Symbol Search and Letter Number Sequencing, Stroop Color and Word Test, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (Channel 1), and Boston Naming Test. Total raw scores and sub-scores were used in analyses. In the total sample and by HIV status, test-retest reliability and performance-level differences were evaluated between the two consecutive IPA (i.e., IPA1 and IPA2), and mean in-person scores (IPA-M), and TNP.
There were statistically significant test-retest correlations between IPA1 and IPA2 (r or ρ = .603–.883, ps < .001), and between IPA-M and TNP (r or ρ = .622–.958, ps < .001). In the total sample, significantly lower test-retest scores were found between IPA-M and TNP on the COWAT (PMR), Stroop Color and Word Test, WAIS-III Letter Number Sequencing, and HVLT-R Total Recall (ps < .05). Results were similar in PWH only.
This study demonstrates reliability of TNP in PWH and HIV−. TNP assessments are a promising way to improve access to traditional neuropsychological services and maintain ongoing clinical research studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telemedicine enables patients to communicate with physicians effectively, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, few studies have explored the use of online healthcare platforms for a comprehensive range of specialties during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to investigate how telemedicine services were affected by the announcement of human-to-human transmission in China.
Telemedicine data from haodf.com in China were collected. A difference-in-differences analysis compared the number of telemedicine use and the number of active online physicians for different specialties in 2020 with the numbers in 2019, before and after the announcement of human-to-human transmission.
Data from 2 473 734 telemedicine use during the same calendar time in 2020 and 2019 were collected. Telemedicine use in 2020 increased by 349.9% after the announcement of human-to-human transmission in China, and the number of active online physicians increased by 23.2%. The difference-in-differences analysis indicated that the announcement had statistically significant positive effects on the numbers of telemedicine use for almost all specialties except cosmetic dermatology, pathology, occupational diseases, sports medicine, burn, medical imaging, and interventional medicine.
Telemedicine services increased significantly after the announcement of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. Online activities of most specialties increased except where providers had to conduct in-person testing and provide bedside therapies.
Survivors of childhood trauma are at increased risk of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). The Recovering from Child Abuse Programme (RCAP) is a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group promoting adaptive coping strategies which may help overcome CPTSD symptoms in adult survivors of childhood trauma. We sought to explore patient experiences of factors influencing treatment acceptability and potential mechanisms of therapeutic change in a sample of participants in the RCAP programme. As the group was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating a transition to remote therapy, we further aimed to capture experiences of the transition to telehealth delivery of the programme. A naturalistic sample of 10 women with CPTSD attending a specialist out-patient psychological trauma service participated in the study. Therapy sessions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and group members completed written feedback forms following each session. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the written feedback and transcripts. The RCAP was acceptable to group members and several themes were identified related to the experience of change in the group. Key themes centred on group solidarity; safety in the psychotherapeutic process; schema changes related to the self, others and future catalysed by the shifting of self-blame; increased emotional regulation to feel safer in the present; and increased future optimism. Therapeutic progress continued following the transition to telehealth, although face-to-face delivery was generally preferred. The programme was acceptable and led to cognitive change, enabling increased emotional regulation in the present and improved self-concept, thereby addressing key symptoms of CPTSD.
Key learning aims
(1) To identify potential mechanisms of therapeutic change related to participation in the Recovery from Childhood Abuse group CBT intervention.
(2) To understand factors influencing acceptability of the group intervention among women with CPTSD to childhood sexual abuse.
There is a significant psychiatry workforce shortage in Australia, particularly in rural and remote communities. Given the large distances involved, telehealth – providing consultation via videoconference – has been widely accepted. Psychiatrists were among the highest users of telehealth services in Australia before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in a major transformation to service delivery across Australia. Private psychiatrists and state public mental health services had to rapidly transition to largely telehealth delivery to ensure continuity of care for consumers.
In March 2020, additional telehealth item numbers were added to the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to encourage physical distancing for those accessing medical services during the pandemic.
To provide an overview of the increase in telehealth activity since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MBS is the list of services for which the Australian Government will pay a rebate. Key data on MBS telehealth activity since March 2020 was examined.
The use of telehealth has increased during the pandemic. A survey of Royal Australian and New College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) psychiatrists found that 93% supported retention of telehealth MBS item number numbers following the COVID-19 pandemic, noting increased accessibility for consumers. Positive feedback has been received from consumers.
During 2020 and 2021, the RANZCP worked with the Australian Government to ensure there were appropriate MBS telehealth services available for consumers. The RANZCP continues to work with the Government as they plan for a longer-term transformation of telehealth services beyond 2021.
Most research on COVID-19 effects has focused on the general population. Here we measure its impact on Dutch FACT and autism outpatient service users during both waves.
This study aimed to: 1) investigate participants’ mental health, 2) assess experiences with outpatient services, and 3) assess respondents’ experiences with governmental measures in the Netherlands during the first and second wave of COVID-19.
Respondents (wave 1: n=100; wave 2: n=150) reported on mental health, experiences with outpatient care, government measures and information services in an online survey.
Findings demonstrate happiness was rated an average of 6 out of 10, 70% of respondents scored below average on resilience, positive consequences for mental health (ordered world, reflection time) during both waves were similar, and prominent negative consequences included decreased social interactions and increased or new problems regarding mental health and daily functioning from wave 1-2. Lifestyle changed in 50% in both waves, although only slightly attributed to the pandemic. Substance use during both waves hardly changed. Mental healthcare continuation was highly appreciated in both waves (75-80% scored ≥7 on 10-point scale). (Video)calling was the most frequently mentioned positive care experience; missing face-to-face contact with care providers considered most negative. COVID-19 measures were less doable in the second wave. Vaccination willingness approximated 70%.
Results show a nuanced, but clear picture of experiences during both waves. Continuation of services through tele-health was well-received. Monitoring of long-term impact is needed.
Ensuring continuity of care for patients with major depressive disorders poses multiple challenges. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials comparing real-time telehealth to face-to-face therapy for individuals with depression. We searched Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central (to November 2020), conducted a citation analysis (January 2021), and searched clinical trial registries (March 2021). We included randomised controlled trials comparing similar or identical care, delivered via real-time telehealth (phone, video) to face-to-face. Outcomes included: depression severity, quality of life, therapeutic alliance, and care satisfaction. Where data were sufficient, mean differences were calculated. Nine trials (1268 patients) were included. There were no differences between telehealth and face-to-face care for depression severity at post-treatment (SMD −0.04, 95% CI −0.21 to 0.13, p = 0.67) or at other time points, except at 9 months post-treatment (SMD −0.39, 95% CI −0.75 to −0.02, p = 0.04). One trial reported no differences in quality-of-life scores at 3- or 12-months post-treatment. One trial found no differences in therapeutic alliance at weeks 4 and 14 of treatment. There were no differences in treatment satisfaction between telehealth and face-to-face immediately post-treatment (SMD −0.14, 95% CI −0.56 to 0.28, p = 0.51) or at 3 or 12-months. Evidence suggests that for patients with depression or depression symptoms, the provision of care via telehealth may be a viable alternative to the provision of care face-to-face. However, additional trials are needed with longer follow-up, conducted in a wider range of settings, and with younger patients.
Justice system-involved women with opioid use disorder (OUD) experience layered health risks and stigma, yet peer navigation services during reentry may support positive outcomes. This manuscript offers a program description of a women’s peer navigation intervention delivered pre- and post-release from jail to remove barriers to women’s access to OUD treatment, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).
All data were collected as part of a NIH/NIDA-funded national cooperative, the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) project. Through the larger study’s intervention, women in jail with OUD are connected via videoconference to a peer navigator, who provides an initial reentry recovery assessment and 12+ weeks of recovery support sessions post-release. Qualitative analyses examined peers’ notes from initial sessions with women (N = 50) and in-depth interviews with peers (N = 3).
Peers’ notes from initial sessions suggest that women anticipate challenges to successful recovery and community reentry. More than half of women (51.9%) chose OUD treatment as their primary goal, while others selected more basic needs (e.g. housing, transportation). In qualitative interviews, peers described women’s transitions to the community as unpredictable, creating difficulties for reentry planning, particularly for rural women. Peers also described challenges with stigma against MOUD and establishing relationships via telehealth, but ultimately believed their role was valuable in providing resource referrals, support, and hope for recovery.
For women with OUD, peer navigation can offer critical linkages to services at release from jail, in addition to hope, encouragement, and solidarity. Findings provide important insights for future peer-based interventions.
Telehealth and telemedicine refer to the exchange of medical information from one location to another using telecommunication technology. Both have the goal of improving how and when people receive care. Telehealth broadly encompasses virtual services that support remote interactions using technology. Telemedicine is specific to the provision of clinical services when providers and patients are not in the same location.1 In this chapter, we discuss the complexity of generating evidence for telehealth, how to contextualize that evidence, and the current state of the evidence.
Infants born with single ventricle physiology that require an aorto-pulmonary shunt are at high risk for sudden cardiac death, particularly during the interstage period between the first-stage palliation and the second-stage palliation. Home monitoring programs have decreased interstage mortality in the hypoplastic left heart syndrome population prompting programs to expand the home monitoring program to other high-risk populations. At our mid-sized program, we implemented the Locus Health home monitoring platform first in the hypoplastic left heart syndrome population, then expanding to the single ventricle shunt population. Interstage mortality for the hypoplastic left heart syndrome population after initiation of the home monitoring program went from 18% prior to 2009 to 7% as of the end of 2020 (n = 99), with 2.8% mortality from 2013 to 2020 and 0% mortality since initiation of the Locus program in 2017. Caregiver surveys done prior to discharge and then 3 weeks later were used to document caregiver experience using the digital home monitoring program. Caregivers reported overall positive experience with the digital application, with 91.8% stating that they felt confident taking care of their baby at home. Transitioning the home monitoring program from a traditional binder to an iPad with the Locus Health application allowed us to expand the program, utilize the electronic medical record, bill for the service, and demonstrate positive experiences for caregivers. Overall engagement and adherence with the program by caregivers were 50.94 and 45.45%, with a total of 112 patient episodes. Reimbursement from private insurance providers was 22% of the billed amount for 2020.
Stroke is a common and serious disorder. With optimal care, 90-day recurrent stroke risk can be reduced from 10% to about 1%. Stroke prevention clinics (SPCs) can improve patient outcomes and resource allocation but lack standardization in patient management. The extent of variation in patient management among SPCs is unknown. Our aims were to assess baseline practice variation between Canadian SPCs and the impact of COVID-19 on SPC patient care.
We conducted an electronic survey of 80 SPCs across Canada from May to November 2021. SPC leads were contacted by email with up to five reminders.
Of 80 SPCs contacted, 76 were eligible from which 38 (50.0%) responded. The majority (65.8%) of SPCs are open 5 or more days a week. Tests are more likely to be completed before the SPC visit if referrals were from clinic’s own emergency department compared to other referring sources. COVID-19 had a negative impact on routine patient care including longer wait times (increased for 36.4% clinics) and higher number of patients without completed bloodwork prior to arriving for appointments (increased for 27.3% clinics). During COVID-19 pandemic, 87.9% of SPCs provided virtual care while 72.7% plan to continue with virtual care post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the time-sensitive nature of transient ischemic attack patient management, some SPCs in Canada are not able to see patients quickly. SPCs should endeavor to implement strategies so that they can see high-risk patients within the highest risk timeline and implement strategies to complete some tests while waiting for SPC appointment.
Mobile health technology is an emerging tool in interstage home monitoring for infants with single ventricle heart disease or biventricular shunt-dependent defects. This study sought to describe adherence to mobile health monitoring and identify factors and outcomes associated with adherence to mobile health monitoring. This was a retrospective, single-institution study of infants who were followed in a mobile health-based interstage home monitoring programme between February 2016 and October 2020. The analysis included 105 infants and subjects were grouped by frequency of adherence to mobile health monitoring. Within the study cohort, 16 (15.2%) had 0% adherence, 25 (23.8%) had <50% adherence, and 64 (61.0%) had >50% adherence. The adherent groups had a higher percentage of infants who were male (p = 0.02), white race (p < 0.01), non-Hispanic or non-Latinx ethnicity (p < 0.01) and had mothers with primary English fluency (p < 0.01), married marital status (p < 0.01), and a prenatal diagnosis of faetal cardiac disease (p = 0.03). Adherent groups also had a higher percentage of infants with non-Medicaid primary insurance (p < 0.01) and residence in a neighbourhood with a higher median household income (p < 0.04). Frequency of adherence was not associated with interstage mortality, unplanned cardiac reinterventions, or hospital readmissions. Impact of mobile health interstage home monitoring on caregiver stress as well as use of multi-language, low literacy, affordable mobile health options for interstage home monitoring warrant further investigation.
The chapter describes how the clinical psychologist can work in rural and remote settings. The specific rewards and challenges are outlined. The chapter reviews the effectiveness of therapy at a distance and developments in the delivery of clinical psychology services. Consideration is given to the relevant legislation and regulations, and provides a practical guide to providing therapy at a distance. These steps involve a consideration of privacy and security, risk management, telehealth, and adapting therapeutic skills to the digital and distance context. The chapter concludes with the unique elements of mental health services in rural communities and the impact on professional boundaries of life in small communities.
Racial disparities in colorectal cancer (CRC) can be addressed through increased adherence to screening guidelines. In real-life encounters, patients may be more willing to follow screening recommendations delivered by a race concordant clinician. The growth of telehealth to deliver care provides an opportunity to explore whether these effects translate to a virtual setting. The primary purpose of this pilot study is to explore the relationships between virtual clinician (VC) characteristics and CRC screening intentions after engagement with a telehealth intervention leveraging technology to deliver tailored CRC prevention messaging.
Using a posttest-only design with three factors (VC race-matching, VC gender, intervention type), participants (N = 2267) were randomised to one of eight intervention treatments. Participants self-reported perceptions and behavioral intentions.
The benefits of matching participants with a racially similar VC trended positive but did not reach statistical significance. Specifically, race-matching positively influenced screening intentions for Black participants but not for Whites (b = 0.29, p = 0.10). Importantly, perceptions of credibility, attractiveness, and message relevance significantly influenced screening intentions and the relationship with race-matching.
To reduce racial CRC screening disparities, investments are needed to identify patient-focused interventions to address structural barriers to screening. This study suggests that telehealth interventions that match Black patients with a Black VC can enhance perceptions of credibility and message relevance, which may then improve screening intentions. Future research is needed to examine how to increase VC credibility and attractiveness, as well as message relevance without race-matching.
This chapter introduces students in the health professions to a new and developing area of mental health practice: e-mental health. It describes a range of digital interventions and explores how digital and mobile technologies are providing additional avenues for helping people with mental health problems in densely populated and hard-to-reach communities. It is important for practitioners to acquire and develop proficient digital literacy skills in the e-mental health service sector. Some types of digital and mobile interventions are considered, along with some of the benefits and limitations that relate to e-mental health in general. As emerging health care professionals, students increasingly will be expected to utilise e-health interventions and strategies in the delivery of health care. The chapter introduces the e-mental health environment in general, and helps students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement person-centred e-mental health care to individuals and populations.
This chapter begins with an overview of the rural and regional clinical context, and explores the connections that rural mental health practitioners have within rural communities. Models of mental health promotion and service delivery are discussed. The nature of life in rural settings and the ways in which climate and geographical location affect the mental health of people are also considered in the context of mental health resilience and vulnerability. Attention is given to the effects of natural disasters, agribusiness, mining, the itinerant rural workforce and under-employment, and the associated mental health consequences. This chapter discusses some rural community benefits in regard to mental health promotion, such as a deeply felt sense of close social proximity despite significant geographical distances between rural people. After reading this chapter, students will be able to reflect on, and critically think about, the ways in which mental health promotion, well-being and recovery can be enhanced among rural populations.
COVID-19 has markedly impacted the provision of neurodevelopmental care. In response, the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative established a Task Force to assess the telehealth practices of cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes during COVID-19, including adaptation of services, test protocols and interventions, and perceived obstacles, disparities, successes, and training needs.
A 47-item online survey was sent to 42 Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative member sites across North America within a 3-week timeframe (22 July to 11 August 2020) to collect cross-sectional data on practices.
Of the 30 participating sites (71.4% response rate), all were providing at least some clinical services at the time of the survey and 24 sites (80%) reported using telehealth. All but one of these sites were offering new telehealth services in response to COVID-19, with the most striking change being the capacity to offer new intervention services for children and their caregivers. Only a third of sites were able to carry out standardised, performance-based, neurodevelopmental testing with children and adolescents using telehealth, and none had completed comparable testing with infants and toddlers. Barriers associated with language, child ability, and access to technology were identified as contributing to disparities in telehealth access.
Telehealth has enabled continuation of at least some cardiac neurodevelopmental services during COVID-19, despite the challenges experienced by providers, children, families, and health systems. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative provides a unique platform for sharing challenges and successes across sites, as we continue to shape an evidence-based, efficient, and consistent approach to the care of individuals with CHD.
The coronavirus crisis is causing considerable disruption and anguish. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent explosion of telehealth services also provide an unparalleled opportunity to consider ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) beyond immediate needs. Ethicists, informaticians, and others can learn from experience, and evaluate information technology practices and evidence on which to base policy and standards, identify significant values and issues, and revise ethical guidelines. This paper builds on professional organizations’ guidelines and ELSI scholarship to develop emerging concerns illuminated by current experience. Four ethical themes characterized previous literature: quality of care and the doctor–patient relationship, access, consent, and privacy. More attention is needed to these and to expanding the scope of ethical analysis to include health information technologies. An applied ethics approach to ELSI would addresses context-specific issues and the relationships between people and technologies, and facilitate effective and ethical institutionalization of telehealth and other health information technologies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the introduction of alternative on-treatment and post-treatment radiographer-led review clinics in an attempt to protect patients, staff and the public. Pre-COVID, patient reviews were routinely undertaken face-to-face, led by therapeutic review radiographers with advanced practice qualifications and skills in radiotherapy symptom management, triage, referral and support services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an alternative option has been to follow-up in the form of telephone reviews to reduce face-to-face exposure whilst continuing to manage patient radiotherapy treatment-related toxicities. The aim of the narrative review is to explore the subject of telephone reviews and how therapeutic review radiographers might need to adapt communication skills so that they can continue to effectively assess and manage radiotherapy patient treatment reactions remotely.
Method and discussion:
A narrative review was conducted using the SCOPUS database and 28 publications were included from 2013 to 2021. The review highlights a paucity of literature exploring specific telephone training for radiographers and other allied healthcare professionals. Experiences within medical and nursing programmes demonstrate that development and integration of training in this area is critical in preparing for patient interaction via telephone.
Conclusion and implications for practice:
Multiple teaching modalities including simulation are ideal for teaching telephone-specific skills and content, demonstrating improvement in student knowledge, competence and confidence. Less is known regarding whether this knowledge translates to an improved patient experience. Enhancements in education and training, guided by the Health and Care Professions Council, may be warranted to ensure that patients continue to receive the optimal quality of care in a world where remote reviews are likely to become commonplace. Patient-reported outcome measures might be utilized for future training evaluations to ensure that effective patient care is being maintained.
It is widely known that pretend play and creativity are essential developmental processes for typically developing children, but there has been little collective examination of the role of creative play in children with developmental disabilities. In this chapter, we review the importance of creativity for children with various developmental disabilities, with a specific focus on pretend play. Research over the past decade in disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down Syndrome (DS), cerebral palsy (CP), Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), and Williams Syndrome (WS) indicates that pretend play is a development skill area where many of these children show deficits, and these deficits may be impactful on their ability to develop appropriate social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral skills associated with pretend play. Recent research also suggests that pretend play can be used as a means of intervention to improve the play skills and associated skills of socioemotional and cognitive-behavioral functioning in children with developmental disabilities. Future study should examine the use of increasingly accessible means of pretend play intervention, such as telehealth, and focus on how parent-training interventions can be utilized to effectively implement pretend play for children with developmental disabilities at an early age.