Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry

childandadolescenttelespychiatry.jpgChild and Adolescent Psychiatry is among the most under-served of medical specialties. The shortage of child psychiatrists in Washington and the surrounding states often leaves primary care as the sole potential mental health prescriber for a child, placing a significant burden on professionals who may lack the time and resources to adequately address child mental health needs. Telepsychiatry can provide consultation to primary care providers who are taking care of children experiencing mental health conditions, and can deliver direct services to kids.

The Partnership Access Line (PAL) at Seattle Children's Hospital is a child psychiatry consultation program operating in Washington and Wyoming specifically designed to support primary care providers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in providing effective mental health care. Providers may call about any type of mental health issue that arises about any child, either prior to seeing a patient to prepare for the visit or while the patient is present. PAL takes each call as a ‘teachable moment,’ instructing the provider around caring for a particular child while building capacity to administer similar care in the future. In specific cases, the PAL program also offers a one-time in-person or telemedicine appointment for patients. The PAL team has done more than 10,000 provider-to-provider consultations in Washington, including over 8,000 consults and over 2,000 medication Second Opinion Reviews.

UW child psychiatrists located at Seattle Children’s Hospital also provide recommendations on placement, diagnosis, and treatment for children involved in multidisciplinary teams (MDT) convened by the juvenile court system in Wyoming. The one-time evaluations, facilitated by secure video conferencing, are aimed at kids who are struggling psychiatrically or at risk for long-term psychiatric placement. Please visit the MDT Psychiatric Evaluation website for more information.

In addition to providing child and adolescent telepsychiatry care, the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences offers trainee rotations in child and adolescent telepsychiatry focused on diagnostic assessments, consultation to referring physicians, and/or pharmacotherapy. For more information, contact our Education Office at psychres@u.washington.edu.