University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Differences in Utilization of Perinatal Psychiatric Teleconsultation Line Between Primary Care and Mental Health Providers

Sarah E. Slocum, MD; Christina L. Wichman, DO; Shelby Kuehn, BA; Jennifer Doering, PhD, RN

WMJ. 2021;120(4):281-285.

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Purpose: Teleconsultation has been a newly recognized avenue by which to provide psychiatric services to perinatal populations being treated either by psychiatric or primary care providers. The Periscope Project (TPP) is a business-hours teleconsultation line providing enrolled clinicians with access to a subspecialty-trained psychiatrist, as well as community resources and provider education. This study examines the differences in consultation between enrolled providers.

Methods: Encounter data was entered into REDCap by TPP’s team members. Data was analyzed using summary statistics. Satisfaction information was attained by follow-up survey.

Results: During the first 24 months of program activity, TPP had a total of 737 referred encounters, 70.4% from primary care and 20.5% from psychiatry. There were statistically significant differences between psychiatric and primary care providers in terms of recommendations for use of certain types of medications and use of diagnostic screenings, as well as differences in what providers would have recommended in absence of TPP’s involvement.

Conclusions: Differences in enrollee’s rationale for consultation allows for better understanding of the needs of front-line providers. Tailoring educational information and even teleconsultation information based on provider group can allow for more efficient patient care and resource utilization. Providers across the spectrum found TPP beneficial, indicating that continued availability to all providers caring for women of reproductive age is important.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Slocum, Wichman, Kuehn); University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, College of Nursing, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Doering).
Corresponding Author: Sarah E. Slocum, Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, 1155 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 304.314.2597; email
Funding/Support: The Periscope Project is a program of the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine with funding support from the United Health Foundation for the programs launch.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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