Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Psychiatrists (and rabbis) and Skype


Kanina Chavez lives an hour away from Children's Hospital in Seattle and used to have to take a whole day off from work whenever her daughter, Rachel, had an appointment with a psychiatrist. Rachel was a teenager when she started treatment for bipolar disorder roughly six years ago. Back then, she and her mother had never heard of telepsychiatry. But now they're using real-time videoconferencing in Olympia, Wash., to make it easier for Rachel to remain in the care of experts in Seattle. During the videoconferencing sessions, her psychiatrist can monitor how Rachel is doing, and Kanina can sit beside her daughter and take notes on the recommended adjustments to her daughter's medications. "I was a little apprehensive about my daughter not being face to face with the doctor," says Chavez. "But the conversation was just as good as if we were in person." (See how to prevent illness at any age.) [...]


  1. The therapist/patient relationship is in no small measure defined by a trust and intimacy of a kind. That cannot be replicated by videoconferencing or text messages. Certainly that is true of patients with severe problems.

    That said, there is a severe shortage of psychiatrists and good therapists. If these technologies are used appropriately, there is a place for them. They cannot replace face to face therapy but they may have a certain value with some patients.

  2. Business meetings, job interviews, medical consultations, family visits, shiddach dates and so much more are now conducted via video teleconferencing, why not therapy?

  3. Tele-therapy would be a chiddush? But telepsychiatry? Big deal; psychiatry is just monitoring the effect of someone's medication. And visits tend to be far less frequent than in therapy.


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