VIDEOCARE: Decentralized Emergency Care through Videoconferencing
VIDEOCARE is a research project on videoconferenced consultations in psychiatric emergencies, in the Department South, General Psychiatric Clinic, at the University Hospital of North Norway.
Today the availability of specialists is limited for psychiatric patients in rural areas, especially during psychiatric emergencies. Use of videoconferencing (VC) for planned psychiatric consultations is growing, but there is limited experience and research, both nationally and internationally, on videoconferencing used for emergency consultations in psychiatry. To ensure access to specialists for District Psychiatric Centers in the region, University Hospital of North Norway (UNN) by Department South, General Psychiatric Clinic and Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (NST), have established a decentralized on-call system by using videoconferenced consultations in psychiatric emergencies (the “DeVaVi” project). Department South consist of 3 District Psychiatric Centres in Southern Troms (Harstad), Central Troms (Silsand) and Ofoten (Narvik), and the Hospital Section in Tromsø. Through this new service, specialists are accessible by videoconferencing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for patients and health staff at the 3 District Psychiatric Centres in the region. The service was implemented in clinical practice in autumn 2011, as the first Norwegian telepsychiatric service in emergency care.
VIDEOCARE is a research project connected to DeVaVi. The project will study whether and how the use of videoconferenced consultations, with patients in psychiatric emergencies, can be a tool to improve emergency psychiatric care for patients in rural areas. Based on qualitative interviews with users of the videoconferenced consultations in Department South at UNN, we will explore patients’, specialists’ and local health professionals’ experiences with use of VC in psychiatric emergencies. Moreover, we will identify factors that facilitate or hinder the use of VC in psychiatric emergencies, and explore how videoconferenced consultations matter for professional practice, cooperation and development of competence between units and levels in psychiatric care.
The aim of the study is to explore the use of videoconferenced consultations in psychiatric emergencies.