Article Abstract

Telemedicine and psychiatry—a natural match

Authors: Charles R. Doarn


In the 1950s, physicians at the University of Nebraska used telemedicine to provide consultative services, support educational endeavors, and conduct training and research for their patients between the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute and Norfolk State Hospital in Nebraska (1). Two-way closed-circuit microwave television was incorporated to facilitate the dialog between these different sites. Cecil Wittson’s work in Nebraska pioneered the concept of telemedicine and psychiatry—simplified as telepsychiatry using closed circuit television (2). This approach, linking medical centers, was further developed and applied in Massachusetts (3) and in Arizona (4) in the 1960s and 1970s as well as a number of other telemedicine initiatives. It has continued to grow over the past 60 years from those initial activities to wide scale application (apps) on our mobile phones and a wide variety of Web-based video-teleconferencing tools.