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Research Letter
March 20, 2019

Association of Characteristics of Psychiatrists With Use of Telemental Health Visits in the Medicare Population

Author Affiliations
  • 1Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts
  • 4RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia
  • 5Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(6):654-657. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0052

Individuals in many regions of the United States experience inadequate availability of specialty mental health care.1 Telemental health, the use of video visits between a patient and a remote mental health specialist, may address these access barriers. Telemental health has grown rapidly but unevenly across the nation.2 Little is known about the characteristics of psychiatrists associated with the use of this technology. Research has examined characteristics of physicians who adopt other technologies such as electronic health records and diagnostic or therapeutic procedures; in general, such physicians are younger, male, US medical school graduates, and work in larger practices.3,4 Among psychiatrists who care for Medicare beneficiaries, we compared the characteristics of psychiatrists who do and do not use telemental health.