Assessing program efficiency: A time and motion study of the mental health emergency care - Rural access program in NSW Australia

Emily Saurman, David Lyle, Sue Kirby, Russell Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Mental Health Emergency Care-Rural Access Program (MHEC-RAP) is a telehealth solution providing specialist emergency mental health care to rural and remote communities across western NSW, Australia. This is the first time and motion (T&M) study to examine program efficiency and capacity for a telepsychiatry program. Clinical services are an integral aspect of the program accounting for 6% of all activities and 50% of the time spent conducting program activities, but half of this time is spent completing clinical paperwork. This finding emphasizes the importance of these services to program efficiency and the need to address variability of service provision to impact capacity. Currently, there is no efficiency benchmark for emergency telepsychiatry programs. Findings suggest that MHEC-RAP could increase its activity without affecting program responsiveness. T&M studies not only determine activity and time expenditure, but have a wider application assessing program efficiency by understanding, defining, and calculating capacity. T&M studies can inform future program development of MHEC-RAP and similar telehealth programs, both in Australia and overseas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7678-7689
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014

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