A cost-minimization analysis of a telepaediatric mental health service for patients in rural and remote Queensland
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The e-Child and Youth Mental Health Service (eCYMHS) is delivered by videoconferencing to nine rural and regional sites in Queensland. Between July 2004 and December 2006, a total of 317 videoconference clinics were offered, with 606 patient consultations. A cost-minimization analysis was undertaken to compare the actual costs of videoconference consultations with the potential costs of face-to-face consultations with the same specialists in Brisbane (i.e. patient travel) and the potential costs of face-to-face consultations in the regions (i.e. visiting psychiatrist). The actual cost of providing telepaediatrics during the 30-month period was $230,753 ($1 = US$0.86 or €0.63). The potential cost of patient travel was $650,389 and the potential cost of a visiting psychiatrist was $299,913. Videoconferencing was the cheapest method of delivering child psychiatry services when the workload exceeded 131 consultations (compared with patient travel) and 379 consultations for the visiting psychiatrist outreach service. Based on the actual workload observed in the study, the use of videoconferencing resulted in a net saving for the health service of about $420,000 compared with patient travel and $70,000 compared with a visiting outreach service.
Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare