In the room when it happens

Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (1):31-31 (2022)
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Medicine has historically been slow to adopt new technologies. Although telepsychiatry was already to some degree in use before the COVID-19 pandemic, the imposed limitations on person-to-person contacts accelerated its growth exponentially. Outcome studies have generally supported telepsychiatry’s use,1 but the breathtaking rapid shift from in-person to video visits across psychiatry has occurred prior to more in-depth examinations on the fundamental changes to the nature of the patient–physician interface. In their paper: “Can you hear me?”: communication, relationship and ethics in video-based telepsychiatric consultations’, the authors aptly take this deep dive, carefully parsing out the potential areas of change from live visits to virtual sense by sense. The authors describe the sensory and spatial context of psychiatric consultation, where vision, hearing and even smell play a role in the assessment of the patient. Furthermore, they consider multiple aspects around telepsychiatric consultations, including technical and educational components for patients and clinicians, and highlight the ethical dimensions of a psychiatric consultation under this new model.2 How many clinical clues might a …



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