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IJMDC. 2023; 7(2): 239-248

Attitudes toward telepsychiatry among psychiatrists at King Fahad University Hospital and Eradah Complex and Mental Health: a Saudi Arabian study

Mohamed Khalil, Humian Al-Mushkhes, Nasser M. Alzain, Manal Abdullah AlNabood, Abdulrahman Al-Mansour, Mansour Jamal Al-Mulla, Majd Fawzi Kubbara, Saeed Yanallh Mohammed Alghamdi.


Background: Telepsychiatry is the use of technology to remotely provide psychiatric care to a patient. Although many patients are satisfied with telepsychiatry, it can be entirely successful only if psychiatrists also show satisfaction and acceptance for this new healthcare service method. Therefore, this study aimed at evaluating psychiatrists’ attitudes toward telepsychiatry and identifying the factors affecting these attitudes.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at King Fahad University Hospital and Dammam Eradah Complex and Mental Health, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. A total of 82 psychiatrists were recruited using convenience sampling. Residents, specialists, and consultants from both centers were included, while nurses and psychologists were excluded. A modified Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ) was administered online to all participants using Google Forms.
Results: The internal consistency of all items and the total TUQ score was excellent (>0.80; range: 0.796-0.947); the TUQ subdomains also showed excellent internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha > 0.80). Most participants (72%) agreed that telepsychiatry is useful; more than 75% believed it improves accessibility and saves time in delivering healthcare services. Furthermore, the majority of the participants (58%) were satisfied with using telepsychiatry. However, fewer than 50% of the participants responded positively to telepsychiatry’s effectiveness and reliability.
Conclusion: Clinicians mainly showed positive attitudes toward telepsychiatry, and many reported high satisfaction with all its aspects. These findings indicate that telepsychiatry may witness widespread acceptance and expansion. However, understanding the obstacles clinicians face when using telemedicine is essential to improving services.

Key words: Telepsychiatry, telemedicine, telehealth usability questionnaire, satisfaction, Saudi Arabia.

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