skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

COVID-19 and telepsychiatry: Early outpatient experiences and implications for the future.

Chen JA, Chung WJ, Young SK, Tuttle MC, Collins MB, Darghouth SL, Longley R, Levy R, Razafsha M, Kerner JC, Wozniak J, Huffman JC. COVID-19 and telepsychiatry: Early outpatient experiences and implications for the future. General hospital psychiatry. 2020 Sep 1; 66:89-95.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically transformed the U.S. healthcare landscape. Within psychiatry, a sudden relaxing of insurance and regulatory barriers during the month of March 2020 enabled clinicians practicing in a wide range of settings to quickly adopt virtual care in order to provide critical ongoing mental health supports to both existing and new patients struggling with the pandemic''s impact. In this article, we briefly review the extensive literature supporting the effectiveness of telepsychiatry relative to in-person mental health care, and describe how payment and regulatory challenges were the primary barriers preventing more widespread adoption of this treatment modality prior to COVID-19. We then review key changes that were implemented at the federal, state, professional, and insurance levels over a one-month period that helped usher in an unprecedented transformation in psychiatric care delivery, from mostly in-person to mostly virtual. Early quality improvement data regarding virtual visit volumes and clinical insights from our outpatient psychiatry department located within a large, urban, tertiary care academic medical center reflect both the opportunities and challenges of virtual care for patients and providers. Notable benefits have included robust clinical volumes despite social distancing mandates, reduced logistical barrieres to care for many patients, and decreased no-show rates. Finally, we provide clinical suggestions for optimizing telepsychiatry based on our experience, make a call for advocacy to continue the reduced insurance and regulatory restrictions affecting telepsychiatry even once this public health crisis has passed, and pose research questions that can help guide optimal utilization of telepsychiatry as mainstay or adjunct of outpatient psychiatric treatment now and in the future.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.