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Thesis

The Utility of Behavioral Telehealth for Isolated Populations

11 December 2006

Abstract

In this literature review, research pertaining to the use of behavioral telehealth with institutionally and geographically isolated populations is critically evaluated. Behavioral telehealth has been hypothesized as a mechanism by which to bridge gaps that exist in mental health service delivery as a result of isolation; be it institutional (such as military or incarcerated populations) or geographical (in the case of rural populations). Behavioral telehealth has been proposed as having risen from and driven by necessity. However, proponents advocate that cost savings and improved quality of care also act as a driving force in the advancement of behavioral telehealth. Critics cite lack of empirical evidence to support such claims as a primary weakness in the current state of literature on behavioral telehealth, and advocate for research pertaining to comparison of clinical outcoines via face to face and behavioral telehealth mediums. Currently, a movement toward empirical outcome research is underway, as are attempts to establish sound methodology that are notably absent in early literature pertaining to behavioral telehealth.


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