The main goal of the study was to empirically measure the effectiveness of Telepsychiatry for mentally ill parolees.
Parolees enrolled in the study were assigned to either face-to-face sessions with their psychiatrists for the duration of their treatment or telepsychiatry sessions with their psychiatrist, in which the parolees interacted with their assigned psychiatrist via a web-based screen interface. Administrative records data on recidivism was collected for everyone who consented to be randomized in this study.
Parolees who agreed to be randomized to one of the study conditions were asked to indicate on their consent form if they would like to participate in two in-depth interviews. A member of the research team contacted the parolees who wanted to participate in the interviews within 7 days of randomization consent. The research assistant went through a second consent process with the parolee to confirm that they were still interested in participating in the interviews. All study participants who participated in the interview portion of the study were paid an incentive of $25.00 for completing the baseline interview and another $25.00 for completing the 6-month follow-up interview.
A random subsample of parolees who were participating in the interview portion of the study was selected to participate in a more in-depth qualitative interview. The qualitative interviews were anonymous and cannot be connected to the baseline and follow-up data. Participants were paid $25 for completing this interview.
All new parolees attending one of the participating parole outpatient clinics were informed about the study and asked if they would like to participate in the study. Parolees who were interested in participating in the study went through a informed consent process and randomized into one of the two study conditions (telepsychiatry or face-to-face) after giving informed consent. Group assignment was based on whether the parolee's The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation number ended in an odd (face-to-face/control) or even (telepsychiatry) number. With regard to the psychiatrist survey, this survey was administered to psychiatrists working in the prison because it was not feasible to administer the survey to psychiatrists in the community during the project period due to policy changes within the department of corrections.
Cross-sectional ad-hoc follow-up
Parolees receiving psychiatric services from a participating parole outpatient clinics to treat a mental health problem between 2012-2014.
administrative records data
Data file (01_Telemed Baseline Data_04-26-15_recoded.sav) contains 71 cases and 131 variables including: marital status,level of education, quality of childhood, drug and alcohol use, criminal history, mental health history, history of violence, relationship with current psychiatrist.
Data file (02_Telemed Follow-up Data_4-26-15_recoded.sav)contains 60 cases and 158 variables including: Overall wellness 6 months following release, educational achievements since release, current employment, support systems outside of prison, drug use after release, mental health following release, need for support, characteristics of neighborhood, relationship with psychiatrist.
Data file (03_Psychiatrist Survey Data 4-26-15.sav) contains 104 cases and 15 variables for example: effectiveness of telemedicine, how many patients use telepsychiatry, benefits of telemed for both doctor and patient, flaws with telemed.
Data file (04_Telemed Administrative Records_04-26-15_recoded.sav)contains 104 cases and 15 variables all of which relate to patient demographics.
This survey was administered to 24 psychiatrists and had a 92% response rate.