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Surmounting challenges in psychiatry

When you feel terrible, the last thing you need is a five hours bus ride in bad weather. www.colourbox.com
When you feel terrible, the last thing you need is a five hours bus ride in bad weather. www.colourbox.com

Imagine having to travel for four hours by car and/or by boat, sometimes even longer, before your child gets to have her much needed acute session with her psychologist.

In remote areas, there is an insufficient number of psychiatrists and psychologists. This leads to long waiting lists and often a rather heavy travel burden for both patients, their families and for travelling specialists.

Potentially damaging conditions

“These conditions can be potentially damaging to the neurodevelopmental maturation processes with children and adolescents,” says eCap project manager Elin Breivik at the Norwegian Centre for E-health Research.

“It should be a criterion for good services to this group of patients that professionals are available for them when needed.”

Modern ICT to the rescue

The aim of the European project eCap that Breivik leads is to surmount the challenges in the delivery of mental health services to adolescents and children in remote areas. This is thought done by using modern information technology to develop diagnosis, consultation, supervision, treatment and collaboration between professionals.

Technologies used are videoconferencing (VC) systems and the Development and Wellbeing Assessment (DAWBA), a computerized structured instrument for gathering diagnostic data from families, teachers and young people themselves.

Positive effects

Potential results have already been identified:

 

  • Improved and more equal access to timely outpatient psychiatry services o Equal access to specialist evaluation
  • Access to treatment according to best practice
  • Improved capacity in primary care and more rational use of specialist services
  • Shortening of patient trajectories o Less travel costs
  • Reduction of psychosocial strain for patients and their families due to less travelling and absence from school, respectively work
  • Optimalized for stepped-care methods where patient and therapist frequently interact by use of videoconference.

Contact: Project manager Elin Anne Breivik, Norwegian Centre for E-health Research

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