Telepsychiatry Frequently Asked Questions

What is telepsychiatry?

Telepsychiatry is an innovative form of classic psychiatric care. It uses secure, real-time audio and video-based technology to connect psychiatrists and patients virtually.

Telepsychiatry helps meet the mental health needs of people living in rural areas that lack access to psychiatric care.

What are the benefits of telepsychiatry?

For patients, telepsychiatry provides:

We also find that some people actually prefer videoconferencing to the standard in-person care because it's less stressful.

For community behavioral health agencies, telepsychiatry provides:

  • Input and guidance from our world-class specialists without needing to travel a long way.
  • Increased efficiency for patients and providers.
  • High rates of patient satisfaction.
  • Lower health care costs.

What conditions do we treat?

Psychiatrists can treat the same mental health issues through telepsychiatry as they can during an office visit.

These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Attention disorders
  • Behavior problems
  • Schizophrenia

Will my personal health information be safe?

Yes. UPMC's telepsychiatry services adhere to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Our state-of-the-art services are highly secure. Patients receive the same protection as they do at an in-person visit.

Is the video system secure?

Yes. Tech support at UPMC constantly protects and tracks our telehealth network.

We further encrypt any data and video you send electronically to make sure your records are safe.

Is telepsychiatry HIPAA compliant?


The Telepsychiatry Program follows all HIPAA Privacy standards to ensure the utmost confidentiality for patients and providers.

Can I connect to a psychiatrist from my home?

It depends.

If your health insurance plan covers virtual visits, you can use telepsychiatry for follow-up care and medication management.

Will my insurance cover the cost of my telepsychiatry visit?


Insurance coverage varies. You will need to check with your insurance carrier to see if the cover virtual health visits. Co-payments will apply as they do with any other medical appointment.

If your insurance doesn't cover the cost of a telepsychiatry visit, you can choose to self-pay.

Will I need to travel to Pittsburgh to continue my care?

Some people might need to come to Pittsburgh for treatment. But, the goal of the Telepsychiatry Program is to offer our services from a distance throughout the course of care.

From follow-ups to medication management, we can do it all through our telepsychiatry services.

What equipment does my agency need to take part in the Telepsychiatry Program?

Video-teleconferencing equipment needs to be present on both ends.

Often times a desktop, laptop, or tablet is all you need as long as it has:

  • A web cam
  • A microphone
  • Speakers

These devices connect to UPMC using the Vidyo platform.

Can my agency offer our patients UPMC's Telepsychiatry Program services?

Yes. We're always growing to include more agencies throughout Pennsylvania.

Our mission is to ensure that no person or community suffers from the lack of mental health services in their area.

To learn more about our services, email the UPMC Telepsychiatry Program or call us at 412-246-5434.

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Contact Us

For more information about the Telepsychiatry Program, please call 412-246-5434 or email us.

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