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Best Practices in First Time Telepsychiatry During COVID-19

  • Best Practices in First Time Telepsychiatry During COVID-19
  • Steven Chan, M.D., M.B.A.
  • A solid video and room set-up is key to a successful telepsychiatry encounter. Many psychiatrists are seeing new patients for the first time over video whom they've never met in-person, so getting the technology right for the first encounter is especially important.
  • Keep doors, windows closed and be sure that anyone else in the room is introduced and keep them in line-of-sight.
  • Keep the room well-lit and be sure that your web cam is placed above the computer screen, not below or to the side.
  • For new patients, make sure that they are know how to use the technology, and offer assistance in setting-up their space, when possible.
  • Consider offering a brief survey to new patients to gauge their level of comfort with technology, and to assess the type of technology they will be using for the encounter. You might also consider scheduling a brief, pre-visit intake session to address any concerns they may have about using the technology so that these don't interfere with the first clinical visit.
  • Establish a protocol to be followed in case of an emergency: assess the patient's location and document who you should contact should an emergent situation arise. Also have a back-up plan in place should there be any technical issues, such as losing an internet connection.

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