Michigan, along with several other programs, conducted a patient satisfaction survey of inmates receiving traditional in-person care and inmates receiving care through a combination of in-person and telepsychiatry. The use of telepsychiatry is relatively new toMichiganprisons; it is important that inmates are comfortable using video-conferencing technology and satisfied that they are receiving the same level of care that would otherwise be provided in-person. The survey measured patient satisfaction with psychiatry service and was completed by both inmates seeing a psychiatrist at the facility for the first time, and inmates who had seen a psychiatrist at the facility at least once previously. The same survey was given to all inmates and participants were able to select if the visit was completed in-person or through the use of telepsychiatry.
The seven facilities asked to participate in the survey returned a total of 358 surveys. After removing surveys marked with “did not want to participate” and surveys that were not clear enough to be understood, 297 surveys were used; 152 received from inmates receiving in-person services and 145 from inmates receiving service through telepsychiatry the day the survey was completed. The survey listed six statements and inmates were asked to select their reactions to each statement on a 5 point scale (5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree”). The six statements included items such as, “The psychiatry staff explained my medication and follow-up care” and “The psychiatry staff showed concern for my questions and worries”.
The results of the survey revealed that inmates perceived psychiatric services received via telepsychiatry as positively as psychiatric services received in person. Also, the results were positive as to inmates’ perception of psychiatry services as a whole.
From a patient satisfaction standpoint, the survey results support that not only is telepsychiatry a viable option, but an equivalent alternative to traditional in-person treatment. As telepsychiatry use expands, we will continue to evaluate its use and continuously look for ways to improve this method of service.
submitted by Darcy Tate, Telepsych Coordinator, MHM Services, Inc, Michigan