January 12, 2021

Factors influencing patient decisions to participate in telepsychiatric care during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study examines factors influencing patients’ decisions to accept or decline telepsychiatry care after stay-at-home orders were initiated in Michigan.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, surveyed 244 patients whose in-person appointments were scheduled within the first 3 weeks of stay-at-home orders.


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The majority (202, 82.8%) initially chose psychiatric care via video visits, 33 (13.5%) chose telephone visits, and 3 (1.2%) decided to postpone care until in-person visits were available.

Patients aged 44 years or more were more likely than patients below age 44 to opt for telephone visits. Nearly half (114, 46.7%) said they were likely to continue with telepsychiatry even after in-person visits were available.

Telephone users were less likely than video users to anticipate future participation in telepsychiatry, but overall, virtual visits met or exceeded expectations for the majority of users.

Understanding challenges to patient-facing technologies can help advance health equity and guide best practices for engaging patients through telehealth, the researchers say.

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