Integrating assisted tele-psychiatry into primary healthcare in Goa, India: a feasibility study

Ankur Garg, Ravindra Agrawal, Richard Velleman, Anil Rane, Sheina Costa, Devika Gupta, Ethel Dsouza, Abhijeet Jambhale, Akshada Sabnis, Godwin Fernandes, Urvita Bhatia, Abhijit Nadkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract


Background

Tele-psychiatry is an increasingly acceptable and feasible platform to deliver mental health care with the potential to increase access to care in low-resource settings. We aim to examine the acceptability and preliminary impact of the delivery of assisted tele-psychiatry services in primary healthcare settings in Goa, India.
Methods

Before-after uncontrolled treatment cohort study. In total, 161 adults with either a mental or alcohol use disorder were provided tele-consultation by psychiatrists through a customised video conferencing platform, along with medication or counselling (via trained lay counsellors) or both as needed. Data on socio-demographics, clinical outcomes and process indicators were collected at baseline and 3 months post-baseline. Paired t tests were used to assess clinical outcomes pre- and post-treatment using the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and World Health Organisation Disability Adjustment Schedule (WHODAS) 2.0, and logistic regression was used to find associations between changes in these scores and various factors.
Results

The most common diagnosis was depression (35%). Post-treatment, there was a significant reduction in both GHQ-12 and WHODAS 2.0 scores. Participants showed high satisfaction with the tele-psychiatry services and technology platform. Improvement in GHQ-12 score was associated with being employed [OR 8.74 (1.92–39.75, p = 0.005)] and being a homemaker [OR 6.42 (CI 1.61–25.57, p = 0.008)].
Conclusion

Treatment of mental disorders through a tele-psychiatry platform appears to be highly acceptable and is associated with improved clinical outcomes. Considering its potential for scalability, a model of assisted tele-psychiatry integrated into primary care can be an important strategy to increase access to mental healthcare in low-resource settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
JournalGlobal Mental Health
Volume9
Early online date3 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

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