Already in 2000, the Department of Psychiatry in Västerbotten began utilizing videoconferencing in contacts with neighbouring units and non-healthcare partners. Organisational changes resulted in a significantly larger catchment area and the management realized that telemedicine was the only option to maintain good working relationships and proximity to patients and families.
Today videoconferencing is used widely among outpatient facilities, cottage hospitals and district hospital clinics for to facilitate conferences where local staff discusses referrals together with responsible psychiatrist in Skellefteå, and during treatment conferences with doctors participating from their home unit. In inpatient care, videoconferencing is used to facilitate meetings between the patients and their regular therapist or for planning of discharge. As the distance to inpatient facilities can be considerable, videoconference is also offered to family members that wish to participate in the meetings. Other collaborators using this technology are social insurance providers, unemployment offices and social services.
Although less common, some patients can also meet the doctor during emergencies and to some extent, therapy is provided to individual patients using this technology.
This text has been originally released in the following report: Telemedicine Survey in the County Council of Västerbotten -An analysis of the present situation, conditions and areas of improvement.