Rural interdisciplinary mental health team building via satellite: a demonstration project.


This paper reports on the results of a demonstration project that examined the role of telehealth/telemedicine (hereafter referred to as telehealth) in providing interdisciplinary mental health training and support to health professionals in a rural region of Atlantic Canada. Special emphasis was placed on addressing the question of how training might affect interdisciplinary collaboration among the rural health professionals. Five urban mental health professionals from three disciplines provided training and support via video-satellite and internet, print and video resources to 34 rural health and community professionals. In order to assess the rural community's needs and the impact of the interventions, questionnaires were administered and on-site interviews were conducted before and after the project. Throughout the project, field notes were recorded and satisfaction ratings were obtained. Satisfaction with the video-satellite presentations was high and stable, with the exception of one session when signal quality was very poor. Rural participants were most satisfied with opportunities for interaction and least satisfied with the variable quality of the video transmission signal. High staff turnover among rural professionals resulted in insufficient power to permit statistical analysis. Positive reports of the project impact included expanded knowledge and heightened sensitivity to mental health issues, increased cross-disciplinary connections, and greater cohesion among professionals. The results suggest that, with some refinements, telehealth technology can be used to facilitate mental health training and promote interdisciplinary collaboration among professionals in a rural setting.

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@article{Cornish2003RuralIM, title={Rural interdisciplinary mental health team building via satellite: a demonstration project.}, author={Peter A Cornish and Elizabeth A Church and Terrence S Callanan and Cheri Bethune and Carl Robbins and Robert C. Miller}, journal={Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association}, year={2003}, volume={9 1}, pages={63-71} }