Number №2, 2020 - page 17-21

The history of telepsychiatry: early period (1950-1970 s) DOI: 10.29188/2542-2413-2020-6-2-17-21

For citation: Vladzymyrskyy A.V. The history of telepsychiatry: early period (1950-1970 s). Journal of Telemedicine and E-Health 2020;(2):17-21
  • Vladzymyrskyy A.V. – Doctor of Medical Sciences, Deputy Director for Research, GBUZ «Scientific and Practical Clinical Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine Technologies of the Moscow Department of Health», 125124, ul. Raskovoi, 16/26 bld. 1 Moscow, Russia, ORCID 0000-0002-2990-7736
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Introduction. Telemedicine became a routine tool for different medical areas – radiology, dermatology, pathology, cardiology etc. Distant care is widely used in psychiatry also. In fact, there has been a special branch for a several decades in the world – telepsychiatry. It is necessary to understand origins of telepsychiatry methodology and success. Objective is to summarize the history of telepsychiatry.

Materials and methods. The period of 1950-1970 was chosen for study. The relevant papers were identified thought electronic database (Pubmed). There are 24 papers are included in review.

Results. First steps in telepsychiatry appears in the 1950s. It was attempts to use telephone communications for counseling and support of patients, as well as the use of “medical television” for education. Technological evolution and the advent of interactive television had opened new horizons. In 1965, new methodological techniques were first proposed and successfully implemented. It was round-the-clock teleconsultations, daily routine 30-minute teleconsultations of patients in closed departments, also as distant supervision of a hospital by a highly qualified specialist. For the first time, telemedicine has solved the problems of the psychiatric care system. In early 1970s most powerful telepsychiatry networks shown great activity that combined educational (68%), clinical (25%) and organizational (7%) tasks.

Conclusion. Even early interactive telemedicine technologies were a powerful tool to increase the availability of psychiatric care. The classical conception and methodology of telepsychiatry was formed in late 1960s – early 1970s. They are almost completely relevant at the present time.

Conflict of interest. The author declare no conflict of interest.

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telemedicine, psychiatry, telepsychiatry, history of medicine, mental health