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It's About People 2022: Embracing Digital Transformation: For a Sustainable and Ethical Future

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Telepsychiatry – Some Professional and Ethical Challenges In The New Approach To Treatment

Petra Koprivnik
Alma Mater Europaea - ECM, University Clinical Centre (UCC) Maribor

INTRODUCTION The usage of telepsychiatry, especially video conferencing, has expanded suddenly in the emergency situation of the covid-19 pandemic. Despite its efficiency and accessibility, clinicians have raised concerns about privacy, safety, and technology limitations in the therapeutic process. In the last years the number of research publications in the field of telepsychiatry multiplied. METHODS We will systematically review empirical publications in the field of telepsychiatry, considering medical databases, e. g. PubMed, as well as guidelines and available ethical recommendations. RESULTS Clinicians are well aware of the many implications of telepsychiatry, however this approach is far from suitable for all patients and clinical circumstances. Other than the limitations caused by specific psychopathology, therapists emphasize their own lack of competencies, they raise issues of safety, confidentiality and doubt about the quality of care. DISCUSSION Available technical solutions enable non-physical contact with patients which undoubtedly has some advantages, especially in times of crisis such as the pandemic. In the future we will likely use a hybrid approach in mental health care and treatment. It takes time to evaluate practices and form solid professional and ethical guidelines, it is an ongoing process. The unsolved dilemmas of telepsychiatry need to be addressed urgently.



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