Objective: We aimed to determine characteristics of patients receiving Medicare-funded face-to-face consultations by psychiatrists in a rural service with an established telemedicine service.
Methods: For this study, 55 case-managed patients from four rural community mental health teams in South Australia provided information through questionnaires regarding psychological symptoms, quality of life, body mass index (BMI) and gave access to their Medicare data.
Results: In a logistic regression, it was found that being younger was more likely associated with a Medicare psychiatric consultation (p<0.05). Participants with at least one recorded visit to a Medicare psychiatrist consultation also tended to have lower levels of psychological distress at the end of the 4-year period, have a higher BMI, and more general practitioner consultations.
Conclusion: The study provides clinicians and policy makers with preliminary information on the subtle differences in clinical profile of patients seen by Medicare-funded psychiatrists within an established state-managed telepsychiatry service.