Indian J Psychol Med. 2020 Nov 1;42(5 Suppl):27S-33S. doi: 10.1177/0253717620960694. eCollection 2020 Oct.
The utilization of telemedicine and telepsychiatry (TP) services in the outpatient department (OPD) has been increasing in recent years. The information about the technological, administrative, and clinical challenges is being addressed by the telemedicine and TP guidelines published by several individual nations. TP aims to address the treatment gaps, barriers for utilization, accessibility, diagnostic validity, financial implications, and individual client preferences. Utilization of TP in the OPD varies from country to country depending upon their healthcare delivery systems. It also varies in populations utilizing the TP services-urban, rural, child and adolescent, geriatric, and differently abled. TP services in the OPDs are being incorporated differentially by government organizations, insurance recognized psychiatric healthcare organizations, private psychiatric group practice deliverers, and individual, standalone psychiatric healthcare deliverers. TP may not replace the traditional in-person consultations completely. Covid-19 pandemic has hastened its utilization across several healthcare delivery systems. Healthcare organizations, clinicians, other healthcare deliverers, and end users are in the process of adapting to the new scenario. Incorporation of the big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technological advances in the psychiatric healthcare delivery systems into TP services in the OPDs would significantly contribute to the overall quality and efficacy of the psychiatric healthcare delivery systems in the future.