Social media and telemedicine are set to play a greater role in psychiatric care. We previously covered how the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) annual meeting this past month in Toronto featured sessions and exhibits with smartphone apps and wearable devices.
Telemedicine and psychiatry
Numerous sessions on telepsychiatry discussed best practices for setting up video equipment, legal risk management, embedding into residency training. Telemedicine equipment can be incorporated into niche settings such as nursing homes, family work, and child & adolescent patients. Even psychological evaluations and cognitive testing can be done with telepsychiatry.
Use of social media in psychiatry
Social media could potentially be used to reduce disparities. In a talk featured by Minority Fellows of the APA & the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), speakers from UCLA, UC San Francisco (UCSF), Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of San Antonio discussed how psychiatrists can use social media.
In one of the workshops, workshop chair Wilsa Charles Malveaux, MD MA, along with colleagues Tiffani Bell, MD, Chuan-Mei Lee, MD, MA, and Racquel Reid, MD stated,
“Research demonstrates that while certain minority groups are at increased risk for mental health disorders due to acculturative stress and trauma, stigma surrounding psychiatric care has been perpetuated by family members, friends, and other individuals in the community, with whom patients more easily come into contact via social media.”
“While access to the Internet and social media has grown, there has been little research done on the ways individuals with mental illness use social media, nor have there been sufficient studies on how psychiatrists can incorporate these technologies in the education and treatment of their patients, and others in need.”
The American Psychiatric Association’s next meeting, the Institute on Psychiatric Services, highlights community psychiatric services and healthcare delivery. Workshops and panels will feature talks on telemedicine best practices, electronic prescribing, apps, data security, patient safety, and behavioral data monitoring. The meeting will be held in New York City, October 8-11, 2015.