Advancing Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19: Considerations for the Management of Major Depressive Disorder

Advancing Telepsychiatry in the Era of COVID-19: Considerations for the Management of Major Depressive Disorder

Med-IQ Select
Online Course | Specialties: Psychiatry
Released: 2/24/2021
Expires: 2/23/2022
Max Credits: 0.5
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Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH
Director, Telemedicine Programming, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, School of Medicine and Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Colorado School of Public Health
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Aurora, CO 

Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Chief Wellness Officer, UC Davis Health
UC Davis
Sacramento, CA

Activity Planners
Stephanie Larson, PhD
Clinical Content Manager
Baltimore, MD

Lisa R. Rinehart, MS, ELS
Director, Editorial Services
Baltimore, MD

Samantha Gordon, MS
Accreditation Manager 
Baltimore, MD

Amy Sison
Director of CME
Baltimore, MD 

Jennifer Arnold
Jacksonville, FL
Learning Objectives
Upon completion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and the use of telemedicine
  • Outline telemedicine policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Implement telepsychiatry best practices in the treatment and management of MDD   

Target Audience
This activity is intended for psychiatrists and mental health professionals.
Statement of Need
The social distancing measures enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly limited interactions among friends and family, as well as restricted patient access to the medical system. Although these distancing measures are helpful in curbing new COVID-19 infections, the associated prolonged social isolation can negatively affect mental health. To that end, telepsychiatry has emerged as a potential solution to reduced physical access to necessary medical services, and rapid changes in both state and federal regulations have made telehealth available to millions of patients in need. In order for the potential of telehealth and telepsychiatry to be fully realized, mental health professionals must remain up to date on changes in regulations as well as recognize and address inequities in access to technology that may prevent the most vulnerable populations from benefiting from telehealth initiatives.

Providership Statement
Provided by Med-IQ.

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Med-IQ is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  

Med-IQ designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Medium/Method of Participation
This is a 0.5-credit CME activity. To receive credit, read the introductory CME material, complete all of the modules, and complete the evaluation, attestation, and post-test, answering at least 70% of the post-test questions correctly. 

Initial Release Date: February 24, 2021
Expiration Date: February 23, 2022
Estimated Time to Complete This Activity: 30 minutes 

Disclosure Policy
Med-IQ requires any person in a position to control the content of an educational activity to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. The ACCME defines “relevant financial relationships” as those in any amount occurring within the past 12 months, including those of a spouse/life partner, that could create a conflict of interest (COI). Individuals who refuse to disclose will not be permitted to contribute to this CME activity in any way. Med-IQ has policies in place that will identify and resolve COIs prior to this educational activity. Med-IQ also requires faculty to disclose discussions of investigational products or unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Drug/Product Usage by Faculty
Off-label/unapproved drug uses or products are mentioned within this activity. 

Disclosure Statement
The content of this activity has been peer reviewed and has been approved for compliance. The faculty and contributors have indicated the following financial relationships, which have been resolved through an established COI resolution process, and have stated that these reported relationships will not have any impact on their ability to give an unbiased presentation.

Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD, has indicated no real or apparent conflicts. 

Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH 
Contracted research: AccessCare 
The writer, peer reviewers, and activity planners have no financial relationships to disclose.
Statement of Evidence-Based Content
Educational activities that assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently are consistent with the ACCME definition of continuing medical education (CME). As an ACCME-accredited provider of CME, Med-IQ has a policy to review and ensure that all the content and any recommendations, treatments, and manners of practicing medicine in CME activities are scientifically based, valid, and relevant to the practice of medicine. Med-IQ is responsible for validating the content of the CME activities it provides. Specifically, (1) all recommendations addressing the medical care of patients must be based on evidence that is scientifically sound and recognized as such within the profession; (2) all scientific research referred to, reported, or used in CME in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must conform to generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.

Med-IQ is not liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this activity. 
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For questions or comments about this activity, please contact Med-IQ. Call (toll-free) 866 858 7434 or email

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Acknowledgment of Commercial Support
This activity is supported by an educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck.
© 2021 Copyrighted


Here are the key takeaways from this activity. Deeper insights and evidence, plus an opportunity to receive credit, are available at the "Continue" button below.

Module 1: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Effect on Mental Health and Mental Healthcare Delivery

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latino populations; these groups have been more likely to report higher levels of anxiety or depression since the beginning of the pandemic than other groups
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused healthcare facilities to postpone outpatient visits and shift care to telemedicine; for example, a recent survey of psychiatrists found that 85% of respondents were seeing 75% to 100% of their patients via telehealth

Module 2: Telemedicine and Telepsychiatry During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Social distancing measures coupled with changing demographic factors and regulatory changes contributed to the prompt adoption of telepsychiatry during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Key regulatory changes to support telepsychiatry include the waiver of state licensure requirements, the acceptable use of common technology, comparable billing, and the expansion of geographic- and telephone-based Medicare-covered health services provided via telemedicine

Module 3: Telepsychiatry Best Practices for the Management of MDD

  • Telepsychiatry enables medication management for a range of psychotherapies, including helping support behavioral activation in patients with MDD, as it allows providers to visualize patients in their home environments using cognitive-behavioral therapy strategies
  • Best practices in telepsychiatry include establishing rapport with the patient and knowing their physical location at each appointment, identifying how to reconnect, and bridging the technological divide for patients who lack broadband access or have low technical literacy skills

View reference list.

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