Telemedicine and IT: Use of Digital Technology on Inpatient Units

  • Donald M. HiltyEmail author
  • Andreea L. Seritan
  • Terry Rabinowitz


Contemporary healthcare is patient-centered with respect to quality care, access, and affordable options. Telepsychiatry (TP) is as effective as in-person care and is used across many service settings. The chapter outlines concepts, data, and findings related to three themes: (1) how TP is used to provide psychiatric care across age, population, and medical and mental health settings; (2) findings and models of inpatient TP to date, along with applications from delivery to other service settings; and (3) the application of information technology, e-health, and e-behavioral health innovations to inpatient care and outpatient follow-up.

TP is versatile in leveraging expertise across telebehavioral health professions to service settings using a variety of models. The evidence base for TP is strongest for adult, then child/adolescent, and geriatric populations—mostly for outpatient mental health and primary care settings. Preliminary outcomes for geriatrics compare favorably to in-person care in terms of satisfaction, feasibility, and outcomes. The evidence base for inpatient TP for geriatric patients is consistent with corroborative evidence from TP used in inpatient medical/surgical and emergency settings. E-health and e-behavioral health innovations are underutilized but may increase points of entry, enhance patient-provider communication, and help continuity of care and in preventing illness recurrence. Applications are available which glean information from patients and caregivers, including rating scales and assessments of cognition. Examples include digital versions of Trails A and B, and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), as well as behavior, and psychiatric symptomatology scales. Hopefully, this technology will be increasingly used in inpatient settings to assess functioning and deficits prior to admission.


Older Adults Geriatric Inpatient Mental Health Psychiatric; Assessment Evaluation and treatment; Information Technology Telemedicine Telebehavioral Telemental Health Telepsychiatry 



Veteran Affairs of Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS)

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald M. Hilty
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andreea L. Seritan
    • 3
  • Terry Rabinowitz
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Northern California Veterans Administration Health Care SystemMatherUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California, DavisSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California, San Francisco School of MedicineSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.University of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Division of Consultation Psychiatry and Psychosomatic MedicineUniversity of Vermont Medical CenterBurlingtonUSA

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