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Use of Telepsychiatry in Cross-Cultural Settings

  • Use of Telepsychiatry in Cross-Cultural Settings
  • Jay Shore, M.D., M.P.H.

Telepsychiatry has been used with an array of populations and communities in a range of environments and can improve access to, and quality of care for, diverse populations. Telepsychiatry provides opportunities to increase access to specialty care for the types of populations and environments that individual providers and organizations work with.

For cross-cultural settings, psychiatrists should:

  • Be knowledgeable and educated about the culture(s) and environments in which they are providing care. This may include periodic site visits as well as keeping informed of events occurring in the communities in which patients are located.
  • Be aware that cultural differences can be highlighted by the patient and provider locations. They should pay attention to any differences between rural and urban communities, if services span these settings.
  • Assess and monitor how a patient’s cultural background influences their comfort and use of technology.
  • Consider how best to adapt their communication style and clinical processes over telepsychiatry to the communities they are providing care for.


  1. Shore JH, Savin D, Novins DK, Manson S. Cultural aspects of telepsychiatric care. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 2006; 12,166-121.
  2. Yellowlees P, Marks S, Hilty DM, Shore JH. Using e-Health to enable culturally appropriate mental health care in rural areas. Telemedicine and e-Health. 2008; 14(5), 486-92.

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