Conference Coverage

Demand, not need, may drive further expansion of telepsychiatry



TAMPA – The growth of telepsychiatry has been driven largely by needs of access, particularly in rural areas without specialists. But telemedicine is convenient, and those growing up with computers, smartphones, and other technology are going to demand this type of access to their clinicians, according to a leader of a course on telepsychiatry at the annual meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists.

“Digital natives – the consumers – are going to drive the use of technology more and more. They are used to videoconferencing. They want to see their doctors over video. They want to communicate via text and email. They want that convenience, and they are much more comfortable with it,” said James (Jay) H. Shore, MD, director of telemedicine at the Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Jay H. Shore, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Telepsychiatry and director of telemedicine at the Helen & Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora

Dr. Jay H. Shore

The term “digital natives” refers to individuals who have grown up and had access to technology from early childhood, Dr. Shore explained. “Digital immigrants” are those who have been exposed to technology after childhood/adolescence. The age of exposure appears to make a difference, said Dr. Shore, citing evidence that early access to technology might be analogous to learning languages at a young age, leading to faster processing and greater fluency.

Meanwhile, telepsychiatry is evolving, allowing for more sophisticated approaches and expanded applications.


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