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Hosted by Editor in Chief Lorenzo Norris, MD, Psychcast features mental health care professionals discussing the issues that most affect psychiatry.

May 5, 2021

Craig Chepke, MD, speaks with Lorenzo Norris, MD, about changes he made to his practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, and plans to make some of those changes permanent.

Dr. Chepke is a psychiatrist in Huntersville, N.C., and adjunct associate professor at Atrium Health and adjunct assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He disclosed serving as a consultant and speaker for Otsuka and Janssen, and as a speaker for Alkermes.

Dr. Norris is associate dean of student affairs and administration at George Washington University, Washington. He has no disclosures.

Take-home points

  • Dr. Chepke discussed his strategies for adapting his practice to the restrictions of the pandemic. He engaged in shared decision-making with patients when modifying his practice, including starting a drive-through pharmacotherapy clinic.
  • To ensure that patients continued to have access to treatments such as long-acting injectable antipsychotics and esketamine, Dr. Chepke created a system in which patients could drive up to his clinic to have the medication administered. Because esketamine requires a 2-hour monitoring period after administration, he adapted the safety protocol.
  • After patients received their intranasal spray dosage, they would complete the monitoring period in their car in the parking lot outside of his office, which was close enough to the clinic for Dr. Chepke to physically observe the patient, and to monitor vital signs wirelessly via a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure cuff.
  • Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Chepke found ways to care for his patients’ physical and mental health. He also adopted technologies that help him monitor his patients' vital signs and glucose levels.
  • Especially while focusing on treatment-resistant psychiatric illness, Dr. Chepke invites family members to participate in evaluation and treatment. He uses this approach because he realizes that effective treatment must involve the system in which the individual exists.
  • Dr. Chepke and Dr. Norris discussed ways in which clinicians can extend hope to their patients through flexibility and innovation, especially throughout the pandemic. Providing hope to patients demonstrates belief in a better future.


Chepke C. Current Psychiatry. 2020 May;19(5):29-30.

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Show notes by Jacqueline Posada, MD, associate producer of the Psychcast; assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University, Washington; and staff physician at George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, also in Washington. Dr. Posada has no conflicts of interest.

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