Telepsychiatry with Children and Adolescents: Return on Investment
Ujjwal P. Ramtekkar, MD, MPE, MBA, DFAACAP

  • Telepsychiatry services offer significant financial savings to families and children in the form of direct cost avoidance, and fewer lost work/school hours. The families’ return on the system’s investment benefits both the family and their community.
  • Telepsychiatry’s return on investment varies across settings with emergency rooms having a particularly high return on investment.
  • The return on investment must also consider the assistance that telesychiatry renders in decreasing the burden on physicians in ERs and in small town medical practices.
  • Psychiatrists may consider the return on investment in integrating telepsychiatry into their practices by reducing overhead expenses.
  • As technology has continuously improved, the cost of telepsychiatry infrastructure has decreased; and, as telepsychiatry has grown, the increased competitiveness of telehealth platform vendors has further lowered the initial cost of the infrastructure increasing the return on initial investment for most healthcare systems and providers
  • The return on investment for telepsychiatry with youth must consider the potential benefits of supporting medical providers in under-served communities, potentially reducing “burnout” and attrition.


  1. Waugh M, Voyles D, and Thomas M. Telepsychiatry: Benefits and costs in a changing health-care environment, International Review of Psychology, 2015; 27(6): 558-568.
  2. Hilty DM, Ferrer DC, Parish MB, Johnston B, Callahan EJ, Yellowlees PM. The effectiveness of Telemental health: a 2013 review. Telemedicine and e-Health 2013;19(6):444–454.