Digital technology can be used to deliver mental healthcare: PGI study
The study revealed the prominent mental health ailments in three states.Updated: Feb 18, 2019 22:14 IST
Offering a solution to shortage of mental health experts in the region, a study conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research’s (PGIMER’s) psychiatry department has proven that tele-psychiatry can help provide mental healthcare to patients. The study revealed the prominent mental health ailments in three states.
The study, ‘A model for digital mental healthcare: Its usefulness and potential for service delivery in low and middle income countries,’ was published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. (WHEN)
Under the study, the department delivered psychiatric services to three remote sites — Himachal Pradesh (HP), Uttarakhand (UK) and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) that are at a distance of 180km, 350km, and 650km from Chandigarh (the nodal site), respectively — using digital and information communication technology.
The authors said, “HP has some 20 psychiatrists to cater to a population of 7 million (approximately), UK has 30 mental health experts for around 10 million people, while J&K has about 30 psychiatrists for 7 million people.”
The psychiatrists developed an automated clinical decision support system (CDSS) for diagnosis, management, and follow-up. The nodal centre, PGIMER, was connected with other sites using broadband connection, a desktop computer and other basic infrastructure.
A total of 2,594 patients were assessed at the four centres. Of these 310 patients were from HP, 370 from J&K, 643 from UK, and 1,271 patients were at the PGIMER.
As per the study, the most common diagnosis were mood disorders (49%) and substance and alcohol use disorders (44%). Around 33% patients’ had anxiety and stress-related disorders, while around 23% had psychotic disorders.
In HP, over half the patients (53%) received a substance and alcohol-use related diagnosis while 47% were diagnosed with a mood disorder. About a quarter (27%) had neurotic and stress-related disorders and 12% had a psychotic disorder.
In Uttarakhand, only 18% people had substance or alcohol-related disorders, 32% had some psychotic disorder, 40% had anxiety and stress-related disorders and about half (49%) were diagnosed with a mood disorder.
In J&K, around 76% people were diagnosed with mood disorders, 32% had a substance or alcohol-use related disorder, 23% had a neurotic and stress-related disorder and 13% had a psychotic disorder.
The study says, “Over 80% of the participating interviewers, patients and their caregivers were satisfied with the interviewing style, language, coverage of complaints and coverage of psycho-social issues and found the length of the application-based interview adequate.”