What are the Benefits of Telepsychiatry?
Telepsychiatry is a growing practice in the field of medicine. There are many reasons why healthcare providers around the country are adding telepsychiatry practices to their existing stable of treatment fields. Below, the seasoned telepsychiatry experts at Orbit Health explain just a few of the benefits telepsychiatry brings to the table.
Improved Access to Psychiatric Care in Rural Locations
The principal benefit of telepsychiatry is the ease of access. Telepsychiatry can bring mental healthcare professionals from anywhere in the state and, depending on the particular regulations and licensing requirements at play, anywhere in the country. Many areas of the country suffer from limited access to healthcare, and where they have any hospitals or medical offices available, they often lack mental healthcare services. Patients in need of counseling, therapy, or other psychiatric care are forced to either seek help from general practitioners without specific psychiatry training or travel hundreds of miles to the nearest psychiatric care specialist.
Telepsychiatry removes these barriers by allowing any medical office, hospital, or even home office to connect to licensed psychiatrists anywhere else in the state. Patients can get the care they need from qualified professionals, without having to take significant amounts of time off of work or school and incurring the costs of travel.
Improved Access to Specialists
In addition to improved access generally, telepsychiatry allows for increased access to specialists. Rather than being limited to the psychiatric care providers who happen to be in the area, patients and providers can access psychiatrists from all specialties, wherever they may be. If a patient needs specialized care for PTSD, loss, anxiety, psychosis, or any other matter, they can get immediate, targeted care.
Reduced Costs for Care Providers, Patients
With telepsychiatry, patients no longer need to drive across county lines to reach the nearest psychiatrist, costing time, wages, and travel expenses. Healthcare offices, in turn, can retain psychiatric care specialists from around the state without needing to fly them out and put them up in a hotel or convince them to stay on full-time. Reduced administrative costs for all parties concerned render telepsychiatry an economical addition to any practice.
Telepsychiatry allows optimization of time for both patients and care providers. Psychiatrists know precisely when their appointments are scheduled to be and simply have to be at their desk at the appointed time. For patients, it makes a world of difference. No more are they stuck in waiting rooms for hours hoping the doctor will be ready soon. Instead, they can simply sit at their own desk or arrive at a local medical office right when the appointment is scheduled. If the psychiatrist has a work emergency and needs to reschedule, the patient is not forced to take another half day off of work to drive across town or county, sit in a waiting room, and hope the next appointment works out. They can simply log off and go about their day. It cannot be overstated how much patients hate feeling like their time is undervalued by physicians, and how useful telepsychiatry can be to alleviate this issue.
Increased Patient Satisfaction
For all these reasons, patients across the board report high levels of satisfaction with telepsychiatry. They appreciate the reduced cost, increased accessibility, and fewer administrative hassles. Moreover, patients report increased satisfaction with telemedicine over in-person care. Many patients find that they believe their clinicians are more engaged during telehealth sessions as compared to in-person visits. Clinicians are forced to look at the screen more, and to avoid looking down, which gives the appearance of deeper engagement and communication.
Patients, in turn, feel more seen, feel more trust, and are willing to share more with their psychiatrist. More trust and more open patients lead to better care overall, and the cycle of increased satisfaction continues.
Improved Continuity of Care and Follow-Up
For all the reasons discussed above–easier access to specialists, reduced costs, reduced wait times, fewer travel concerns, increased satisfaction–patients are more likely to seek continued telepsychiatry treatment. Traditional barriers such as time constraints, travel difficulties, cost, and limited satisfaction lead patients to give up on mental health care in deference to other pressing life concerns. By removing those barriers, telepsychiatry encourages patients to stick with the process and continue receiving the mental health care they need. Recent studies have shown that the practice of telemedicine has led to an increase in overall patient health.
If you are a healthcare provider who would benefit from a variety of experienced, qualified, and licensed psychiatric care specialists, reach out to Orbit Health to discuss your options for telepsychiatry today.