Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 462-466

Training nonspecialists in clinical evaluation for telepsychiatry using videoconferencing: A feasibility and effectiveness study

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Savita Malhotra
House No 425, Sector 37 A, Chandigarh - 160 036
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/indianjpsychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_336_21

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Aims: Videoconferencing-based telepsychiatry has been used successfully for the assessment and management of psychiatric disorders. However, training mental health professionals through videoconferencing has seldom been attempted. Online decision support systems for diagnosing psychiatric disorders had been developed earlier at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, as a part of a project for delivering telepsychiatric services to remote areas. The feasibility of videoconferencing for training nonspecialist staff in the use of the online tool to diagnose psychiatric disorders was examined. The effectiveness of training was evaluated using ratings of diagnostic agreement between trainees and trainers and estimations of training costs. Methods: The Skype platform was used for videoconferences (VCs). Broadband internet connections had bandwidths of 4 mbps and speeds of 512 kbps. A total of 62 training sessions were conducted by the PGIMER team for remote-site teams using role-play techniques and actual patient interviews. Results: Videoconferencing-based training was considered to be convenient, satisfactory, and useful by all the participants. Diagnostic agreement between trainees and trainers was 89%–100%. Such training also appeared to be cost-effective. The main problems encountered were poor connectivity and poor audiovisual quality of the VCs. Conclusions: Videoconferencing can be feasible and effective for training nonspecialists to diagnose psychiatric disorders.



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