How to Implement Telepsychiatry and Be Successful
The benefits of telepsychiatry have been proven in study after study, especially in recent years. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its continued presence affecting all aspects of society serve as additional illustrations of the importance of telemedicine in modern healthcare. If you are interested in setting up a telepsychiatry practice at your hospital or medical office, or if you are a psychiatrist looking to add telepsychiatry to your repertoire, there are a few important steps you’ll need to take. Below, the telepsychiatry experts at Orbit Health offer a few tips on how to successfully implement telepsychiatry in your medical practice.
Do Your Research
The use of telepsychiatry is expanding everywhere across the country, but every state has its own rules and regulations concerning licensing, remote service provision, and patient data security. To establish a telepsychiatry practice, you’ll need to be familiar with the laws, medical board rules, and restrictions in your state. You’ll also need to get familiar with the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rules, which remote services are eligible for coverage, what parity laws are in place, and how private insurers handle telepsychiatry in your state. It’s also important to review patient data security rules and which telepsychiatry services and platforms are HIPAA-compliant. A knowledgeable telepsychiatry partner can help educate you and relevant staff about the rules in your state.
Get the Right Equipment, and Get Familiar With It
Telepsychiatry does not require a heavy investment in technology, but the pieces that you do purchase need to be appropriate for the task at hand. You’ll need a high-quality webcam and a computer, or a quality tablet or laptop with a good camera. You don’t need the most expensive item, but you need something modern and something that works. Make sure you have high-speed internet access and that your chosen telepsychiatry office either gets a strong Wi-Fi signal or has wired internet access.
If you are providing telepsychiatry from your practice, you’ll also want to invest in items like a headset and microphone to minimize background noise and distraction. A silent keyboard can also be helpful in limiting distracting noises.
Prepare a Proper Working Space
The office from which you are providing telepsychiatry and/or the office in which your patients will sit for their telepsychiatry sessions should be proper, clean, and professional. Both ends of the screen should project confidence and professionalism, ensuring that your patients feel at ease and well-cared-for.
Minimize distractions in the background; a bookshelf, blank wall, curtains, or minimalistic artwork is best. Your patients should not be able to see a busy room full of furniture and other objects, especially if it is not well-kempt. Even if you are conducting sessions from home, your space should appear office-like.
For the patient side, make sure they feel like they are in a proper office for therapy sessions, not an after-thought or storage closet. Both sides of the session should have proper lighting from behind the camera, rather than behind the person, so that both participants can see the other person’s face clearly.
Work With the Right Telepsychiatry Partner
A good telepsychiatry partner is perhaps the most essential factor in ensuring that your telepsychiatry practice is efficient, effective, and conducted in compliance with all appropriate laws, regulations, and medical board rules. At Orbit Health, we do more than just connect qualified psychiatrists with healthcare providers across the country; we’ll help you build out your entire telepsychiatry practice.
At a minimum, Orbit Health provides the software you need to conduct effective and secure teletherapy sessions, in accordance with HIPAA and other regulations. We have a roster of qualified psychiatrists in all 50 states and can bring licensed practitioners to your hospital or medical office.
If you are setting up a new telepsychiatry practice, Orbit University can help you build your practice from the bottom up. We work with your leaders and staff to put together a plan to add telepsychiatry to your existing set of services. We train staff on the technology, the licensing regulations, and how to build out a telepsychiatry practice using existing personnel and infrastructure. Call Orbit Health to find out how we can help you establish a healthy and profitable telepsychiatry practice.
If you are a healthcare provider or employer who would benefit from a variety of licensed and qualified psychiatric care specialists, or if you are looking to establish a telepsychiatry practice at your hospital or medical office, reach out to Orbit Health to discuss your options for telepsychiatry today.