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Teleconsultation and psychiatry

What is teleconsultation, and how is it applied in psychiatry?

Teleconsultation in psychiatry - definition and objectives

Teleconsultation, in general, is a mode of consultation between a “teleconsulting” medical professional and a patient, via information and communication technologies (online conversation or videoconference). These acts can be covered by social security in the same way as traditional consultations.
Applied to psychiatry, it is a consultation between a mental healthcare professional and a patient suffering from mental disorder or pathology; and requiring regular support.
Psychiatric teleconsultations are intended for patients who have already been met by the practitioner during face-to-face consultations. They aim to establish more regular follow-up for patients whose situation no longer requires trips to an office or a health care facility.
Teleconsultation offers many advantages: patients can access specialists more quickly, without geographic constraints. This makes it possible to develop more personalized, more frequent and less costly support and follow-up.
From a practical point of view, this mode of consultation, thanks to current technological tools, allows the practitioner to transmit to the patient the prescription for the drugs he or she needs, electronically.

Teleconsultation in psychiatry - the targeted public

Psychiatry is a specialty particularly suited to teleconsultation. In addition, teleconsultation allows the practitioner to have some kind of access to the patient’s home and environment, which can be very useful in their management.
Because of the disease, some patients may have difficulty maintaining regular follow-up. Certain cases can therefore particularly benefit from teleconsultation:

  • Depressive relapse: monitoring a patient recovering from depression requires regular monitoring. In the event that this type of patient is prevented from visiting his practitioner (illness, injury, etc.), the risks of relapse are great. Teleconsultation thus allows the specialist to follow up for the patient and prevent relapses;


  • Chronic psychosis: Patients with chronic psychosis (such as those with schizophrenia) can sometimes be difficult to follow from a distance. In addition, the impact of their environment on their mental health is significant. Teleconsultation then allows the specialist to follow the patient remotely, while obtaining a better understanding of the environment in which he operates, and thus adapt his prescription each time it is renewed.


  • Insomnia: Patients with sleep disorders are at high risk of addiction to drug therapy and require regular monitoring. Teleconsultation then makes it possible to regularly assess the patient’s sleep progress, and to adapt drug treatment as best as possible, to progressively progress towards stopping the medication.

These few cases illustrate how well teleconsultation is adapted to psychiatric follow-up. Other disorders and pathologies can benefit from remote monitoring. In most of the cases, teleconsultation, especially the need for regular monitoring, to which face-to-face consultation struggles to respond for multiple reasons (lack of time, difficult travel, geographic constraints, etc.).