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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


BARRERA-VALENCIA, Camilo et al. Cost-effectiveness of synchronous vs. asynchronous telepsychiatry in prison inmates with depression,. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2017, vol.46, n.2, pp.65-73. ISSN 0034-7450.


Telepsychiatry is defined as the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in providing remote psychiatric services. Telepsychiatry is applied using two types of communication: synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (store and forward).


To determine the cost-effectiveness of a synchronous and an asynchronous telepsychiatric model in prison inmate patients with symptoms of depression.


A cost-effectiveness study was performed on a population consisting of 157 patients from the Establecimiento Penitenciario y Carcelario de Mediana Seguridad de Manizales, Colombia. The sample was determined by applying Zung self-administered surveys for depression (1965) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), the latter being the tool used for the comparison.


Initial Hamilton score, arrival time, duration of system downtime, and clinical effectiveness variables had normal distributions (p >0.05). There were significant differences (p < 0.001) between care costs for the different models, showing that the mean cost of the asynchronous model is less than synchronous model, and making the asynchronous model more cost-effective.


The asynchronous model is the most cost-effective model of telepsychiatry care for patients with depression admitted to a detention centre, according to the results of clinical effectiveness, cost measurement, and patient satisfaction.

Keywords : Telepsychiatry; Synchronous; Asynchronous Prisons; Cost-effectiveness.

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