for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at Sacramento, California
study started



There is a critical shortage of psychiatric services to people with mental illness who live in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), especially those in rural settings. Although real-time video conferencing psychiatric consultation, termed Synchronous Telepsychiatry (STP), has been around for almost 3 decades, its adaptation is met with logistic and other challenges. In this context, the investigators investigate a novel method of psychiatric consultation termed Asynchronous Telepsychiatry (ATP). The main hypotheses are that that ATP will be as clinically effective as STP, and that it will be acceptable to patients. This study aims to evaluate the comparative clinical effectiveness of ATP vs. STP in SNF population, in a 12-month non-inferiority, randomized, controlled trial.

Official Title

Comparison of Asynchronous Telepsychiatry vs. Synchronous Telepsychiatry in Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Randomized, Controlled, Non-inferiority Trial (CATeleST)


This study aims to assess the acceptability of asynchronous telepsychiatry (ATP) and synchronous (STP) in rural, Northern California Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) population, in a 12-month randomized controlled trial.

The study will be conducted at 5 SNFs in Northern California. SNF staff will place a formal order for psychiatric consultation to the study so that the participants can receive psychiatric care via ATP or STP. Research assistants will screen each referral by reviewing inclusion and exclusion criteria based on the psychiatric referral question. To closely match real-world practice settings, STP "clinic" will be pre-scheduled for 4 hours once per month for each site. ATP participants will be interviewed by SNF staff (and videotaped with assistance from research assistant within 5 days). The video will then by reviewed by research psychiatrist and a consultation report will be send to the PCP in <5 days. Follow-up will occur at 1-, 2-, 3-, 6- and 12-month time periods, in addition to the baseline (0-month) visit for a total of 6 consults.

Aim 1: To assess whether ATP and STP models improve clinical outcomes: Hypotheses: Compared to STP, the ATP arm will: H1: show non-inferior clinical outcome trajectory, reflected in improvement from baseline, as measured by Clinical Global Impression (CGI).

Aim 2: To assess the acceptability of ATP and STP by examining satisfaction surveys from SNF residents (who are able to complete the surveys). Hypothesis: Compared to STP, ATP participants will show: H1: Similar levels of satisfaction as measured by the Telemedicine Satisfaction Survey as completed by participants.

Aim 3: To conduct healthcare economics and net benefit analysis of cost-effectiveness of ATP vs. STP in SNFs. H3: ATP, compared to STP, will be more cost effective with respect to SNF resident satisfaction and reduced wait times.


Psychiatric Disorder, Telepsychiatry, Synchronous, Asynchronous, SNF, Mental Disorders, Problem Behavior


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

Participants must be residents of SNF that has been approved by University of California,

Davis IRB, and adults aged ≥18, with non-emergent psychiatric issues, including:

depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, dementia behavioral problems, management of psychiatric medications, and others mental health problems. Chronic medical disorders are not excluded. Study PI or co-PI will be available by phone to help with screening.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Residents with imminent suicidal and/or violence risks that require emergency psychiatric referrals or patients who cannot wait until the next ATP/STP evaluation,
  2. Residents with imminent risks will be referred to the local emergency department as is the current practice at both SNFs, and 3) Residents who are unable to consent to the study and who do not have surrogate decisional makers to provide informed consent will not be able to participate.


  • University of California, Davis Medical Center
    Sacramento California 95816 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, Davis
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Study Type
About 235 people participating
Last Updated