Telepsychiatry Consultation for Medical and Surgical Inpatient Units

Julie A. Graziane, Priya Gopalan, Jack Cahalane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background Telepsychiatry is becoming more commonplace in the provision of psychiatric care. Most commonly used in the outpatient setting, there is little information available in the literature as to the use of telepsychiatry for inpatient medical/surgical consultation. Objective We review the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's telepsychiatry consultation program that provides consultation to an outlying community-based rural hospital. Methods This article examines the 69 telepsychiatry consultations that were performed from November 2014 through February 2016, looking at the patients served, common consultation questions, and patterns of diagnoses and recommendations. Results The median age of individuals undergoing telepsychiatry evaluations was 67 years, and the most common reason for consultation was for delirium. Over half of the patients consulted had a primary diagnosis of delirium, dementia, or a cognitive disorder not otherwise specified, using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, Text Revision) diagnoses. In most patients, additional laboratory studies or imaging or both were requested and medication changes recommended (initiation, dose changes, and discontinuation). Conclusion This report provides one of the first detailed views of the use of telepsychiatry in a remote inpatient medical setting. Findings will guide education to primary teams and will shape the development of future telepsychiatry interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-66
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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