Analytics, Behavioral Health
Evaluating the Impact of Telepsychiatry
To evaluate the impact of telepsychiatry services by comparing study participants receiving telepsychiatry interventions versus study participants receiving no such intervention.
There is a lack of access to mental health care for many individuals in the U.S. One strategy for reaching individuals for psychiatric care is using telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry uses two-way real-time interactive video and audio communication between a patient and a psychiatrist who are in different locations. Potential reasons that the patient and psychiatrist may be in different locations may be that they live in different areas or that one of them has a contagious illness, to name a couple. This study examines a variety of medical outcomes to determine the effectiveness of delivering telepsychiatry to Medicaid-covered patients in Missouri.
The study will be a nested case-control analysis of Medicaid-covered patients in Missouri whose healthcare is managed by Genoa Healthcare, a large provider of pharmacy, outpatient telepsychiatry, and medication management services in the U.S. To be eligible for inclusion in the study, the patient must be between the ages of 18 to 64 at the point of a first psychiatry outpatient visit. Intervention group patients will have at least one telepsychiatry appointment following either a behavioral health (BH) or substance use disorder (SUD) hospitalization, or a BH/SUD emergency department (ED) visit. Patients in the intervention group will also have face-to-face mental health visits. Control group patients will consist of Medicaid-covered patients from the same program population who only had face-to-face psychiatry visits instead of telepsychiatry and face-to-face visits. Measures examined for the 11 months before and after the first outpatient visit will include timeliness of care, outpatient encounters, ED visits, medication adherence, and readmissions. We will analyze the data using three different statistical tools depending on the variables: a two-sided, two-sample Students’ t-test for age; Chi-squared test for gender and rate of mental illness diagnosis; and Wilcoxon rank sum test without normal distribution assumption.