Telemedicine had its beginning in remote-access physical examinations and treatments. Since that time, using telemedicine for mental health therapy has become an option and may yet prove itself as an essential aspect of mental health treatment. Patients with limited transportation, living in remote locations, or dealing with other issues find that behavioral health telemedicine brings opportunities they might not have had otherwise. Doctors using telehealth psychiatry find that the cost-effective method reaches more patients who need help.
Is Telehealth Psychiatry Really A Thing?
Teladoc is a frontrunner in the still-experimental field of telehealth mental health counseling. Its chief medical officer, Dr. Lew Levy, states that about 42 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety disorder while about 16 million experience symptoms of major depression. The larger part of both groups has not sought psychiatric help within the last year. Multiple reasons seem to be affecting their decision, and accessibility, stigma, and cost are some of those.
How It Looks
Using technology that includes tools such as these, doctors can have direct access to patients on a regular basis. With video chat, they can observe behaviors and exchange information on treatment that will allow patients to find solutions. Direct-office appointments won't have to be canceled due to bad weather. People seeking greater access to treatment will have telemedicine for mental health available. The process will be very similar to office visits with the usual paperwork, initial consultations, and then the easing into a growing doctor-patient relationship that leads to positive results.
For a closer look at some of these tools, take a look at the WallDoc. Small, unobtrusive, and portable, it provides health care access at far below the costs of office visits.
The Xpress Station provides immediate access for patients who might face exhausting travel distances otherwise. Having proven itself in medical telehealth situations in remote locations already, it is ready to bring telemedicine psychiatry into the future of virtual patient treatment.
One of the advantages of telemedicine is that by using tools like this conference camera, professionals can not only communicate with their patients but have access to other medical professionals for further consultation. The ever-tricky situation of a psychiatrist needing a substitute is made infinitely easier as well.
As new as telehealth mental health is, dynamic entities like GlobalMed are building the game-changing availability of technology with its supporting software. They have already made it possible for 15 million virtual consultations to help people find the treatment they need. Virtual mental health accessibility is here to stay.
Possible Issues That Need Addressed
Many concerns about telemedicine for mental health mirror the standard concerns about other kinds of direct psychiatric health, but with the added worry over the lack of in-person interaction that might allow a professional to pick up on subtle cues. The overall effect remains to be seen but as Teladoc has observed, reduction in symptoms following telehealth consultations has been significant. Depression sufferers experienced a 32% reduction in their symptoms while anxiety sufferers had a 31% reduction in their symptoms. Overall stress symptoms went down by 20%.
As far as monetary considerations go, the initial output for equipment would easily be recovered in ease of treatment and increase of accessibility for more people seeking help. The reduction in office costs will fill in the difference. As more providers get on board, more options will follow and that always evens the playing field. Using telemedicine for mental health will change lives