Centre for Telepsychiatry
The Centre for Telepsychiatry in the Region of Southern Denmark
Centre for Telepsychiatry is a research and development center within the Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark. We aim to promote the use of telepsychiatry and e-mental health to improve the quality and accessibility of care for people with mental health problems.
Centre for Telepsychiatry was officially launched in 2013. Since then we are committed to develop, research and implement innovative technology-based interventions that are clinically relevant, safe to use and meaningful to service users. These vary from web-based mental health promotion, to therapist-guided online programs to mHealth and virtual reality.
Our team consists of experienced professionals in many different fields, such as psychology, public health, engineering, IT, user experience, web design and social sciences – just to mention a few.
Centre for Telepsychiatry is running the Internet Psychiatry Clinic offering internet-based therapy in depression and anxiety in addition to the development and implementation of outpatient video consultations, mobile applications for mental health and web-based interventions to improve wellbeing among young people.
Centre for Telepsychiatry has established the Research Unit for Telepsychiatry and E-Mental Health in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark.
The Internet Psychiatry Clinic
The Internet Psychiatry Clinic is an internet-based guided self-help service to people suffering from mild to moderate depression and anxiety to adults in Denmark.
The clinic operates by self-referral. The clinic gives citizens fast access to evidence-based treatment and guidance, without the need for a referral from their General Practitioner. The clinic’s services are offered to adults with a primary diagnosis of mild to moderate depression or anxiety, no record of substance abuse and no bipolar or psychotic disorders. Patients need to understand and write Danish, and have access to a computer and broadband internet connection.
The Internet Psychiatry Clinic has been operating in routine care since 2015. It followed a three-year development project running from 2013 to 2015 initiated by a government action plan for the dissemination of telemedicine. In the period 2018-2020 internet-based therapy for depression and anxiety will be made available nationwide to citizens across the five Danish regions. The Internet Psychiatry Clinic will assess approximately 1,400 patients per year.
Video consultations in outpatient care
In the Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark video consultations in outpatient care are used to ensure:
- Improved access to high-quality treatment services
- Greater flexibility for patients
- Less time spent on transport to and from the outpatient clinic
- Fewer cancellations of appointments
Every department in the region’s mental health service has videoconferencing equipment and offers video consultations between patient and provider for treatment and follow-up. Patients are offered video consultation in the comfort of their own home. Outpatient video consultations are:
- Used for scheduled and urgent outpatient visits, medication management, psychotherapy and other forms of therapeutic and supportive consultations.
- Compliant with data security and patient safety guidelines
- Based on a bring-your-own-device model where patients use their own tablets or desktop computers
Following two pilots in 2013 and international randomized controlled trials showing that video consultations are safe, acceptable and effective in patients deemed clinically eligible in a range of mental health conditions, video outpatient consultations have been implemented at scale in the hospital, with reimbursement for the service equalling that of in-person consultation.
Our role is to facilitate the implementation of video consultation and coordinate the development of the infrastructural setup for video consultation in outpatient services. We support the mental health departments in using video consultations through different means:
- We have chaired a clinical work group to produce a set of practice clinical guidelines for the use of video consultation
- We develop training manuals and e-learning material of the use of video consultations
- We train clinicians and assist clinicians and patients with technical difficulties.
There are an increasing number of commercially available apps for handling mental health problems and an increasing interest of patients and mental health professionals in using mental health apps.
Mental health apps may be used for a variety of purposes and may focus on symptom assessment, psychoeducation, promoting engagement with therapy homework, practicing skills learnt in therapy, or monitoring symptoms or mood. Mental health apps do not replace regular care but rather work adjunctively to it, enabling new ways of engaging with patients.
With >10.000 mental health-related apps on the commercial marketplaces, it is difficult for service users and clinicians to identify which apps are high quality, useful and safe.
Mindapps.dk is an online mental health app guide that aims to provide patients and clinicians with a guiding hand in considering the safety, evidence, usability and interoperability of apps to make more informed decisions about their use.
The engine of Mindapps.dk is the App Checker – a tool for assessing the safety and quality of commercially available mental health apps. The App Checker is also an invitation to app developers to educate them about the needs we have as a mental health service.
The App Checker consists of three steps: 1. App information 2. Assessment of security and privacy. 3. Assessment of quality. The security section of the tool is divided into 3 subcategories depending on the sensitivity of the data that the app collects: Risk assessment; assessment of data security and privacy, and an assessment for CE marking. The quality section contains 12-items divided into 4 subscales: transparency, effectiveness, reliability, and usability. The tool calculates the app quality mean score. Users are advised only to download and use apps with a quality mean score of 1.5-3.0.
The App Checker has been tested and adapted in collaboration with patients and clinicians from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark and the Unit for Information Security.
The App Checker will continuously be adapted to national and European requirements for quality, safety and data security.