Telepsychiatry is a form of mental health treatment that allows patients to see and speak with their therapist or psychiatrist via video conference. It’s often used in rural areas where there aren’t enough psychiatrists or in cases where the patient needs access to specialized care not available locally.
It can also help patients avoid long waits for appointments and travel time and provide convenience when traveling internationally. This article will discuss some of the benefits of telepsychiatry that make it an essential part of modern medicine today.
Better Convenience and Privacy
The internet significantly improves access to healthcare services, especially for those living in rural areas or developing countries. As per Fortune Business Insights, the telehealth market is expected to hit USD 396.76 billion by 2027. The primary reason for such a surge could be convenience and privacy.
Telepsychiatrists need medical records to study the patient’s condition and offer appropriate therapy. However, medical records are sensitive information. Hence, most telepsychiatry applications use mental health EHR (electronic health records) that are password protected, and only the psychiatrist can access them, which provides greater assurance that information stays confidential.
Similarly, convenience is another factor contributing to telepsychiatry. Patients do not have to go through all the hassle of traveling from one place to another just for an appointment or treatment session with their psychiatrist. They can stay at home and make use of telemedicine services instead.
More Flexibility and Less Commute Time
One of the most apparent benefits of telepsychiatry is its flexibility. Patients who can access their psychiatrists remotely can see them from various locations, including their homes. Since no commute time is involved in getting to and from appointments, patients also have more time for other activities, from spending time with family and friends to exercising or even sleeping more soundly.
Of course, this benefit isn’t just limited to patients. It also applies to psychiatrists themselves! With fewer weekly trips out of the office, they have more opportunities for self-care like exercise, research development projects that may not fit into an eight-hour workday, or new job opportunities elsewhere.
Improved Access to the Vulnerable Populations
Telepsychiatry can be an excellent option for people who are disadvantaged or underserved. This is because telepsychiatry can provide easier access to care for these populations. Statistics show that only 25% of African Americans seek mental health care help compared to 40% of white Americans. In fact, research shows that 2.7 million Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders face mental health issues, but only a few of them get help due to various barriers. While there has been some progress in reducing this disparity over time, there is still a need for further improvement in ensuring that all Americans have equal access to high-quality medical services.
Telehealth services like telepsychiatry may help underserved populations by providing easier access to psychiatrists or mental health therapists without requiring them to travel long distances from their homes or workplaces, whereas traditional face-to-face appointments often need travel. As long as patients have internet access at home, work, or in public places, they can connect with providers via videoconference technology before making an appointment and receive treatment remotely after scheduling it using online booking software.
Better Patient Outcomes
A survey by NCBI reveals that telepsychiatry can help improve patient outcomes. These include better access to mental health care, the reduced stigma associated with mental illness, and a greater likelihood of receiving treatment for mental illness. An article in The Sage Journals indicates that patients who received telepsychiatry services experienced a more positive interaction with their providers than those who did not receive such services. They also felt less lonely and isolated after receiving the therapy.
Lastly, most mental health sufferers suffer from anxiety. Anxious people dread in-person appointments. Despite this, telehealth for mental problems has proven to be helpful. In fact, according to the Journal of General Health Medicine, approximately 39.1% of people suffering from anxiety had a high satisfaction score of 4.9/5. This itself proves the efficacy of telepsychiatry.
Increased Provider Connectivity
One of the reasons why telepsychiatry is experiencing an increased success rate is because providers can connect with other providers. This allows for better communication between doctors and patients.
From telepsychiatry, a provider can be in touch with other providers and access patient records, including laboratory results, medication lists, and medical histories. A provider can also look up information about previous visits or contacts made regarding a particular patient.
Telepsychiatry Is More Than Just Convenient
Telepsychiatry is more than just convenient. It also has positive impacts on patient outcomes, as well as providing connectivity. Convenience for patients and providers is one of the most significant benefits of telemedicine, especially in telepsychiatry.
Patients benefit from convenience because they can receive care without traveling long distances or missing time from work or school. Providers benefit because they don’t have to waste time traveling back and forth between appointments with patients who live far away. A study by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found that 84% of physicians started addressing new patients through telepsychiatry over the period of Covid-19, and 64% continue to do so for patients living far.
The cost-effectiveness of providing care remotely is also essential because it increases access to mental health services for vulnerable populations that would otherwise lack this access due to their location or financial situation (e.g., those living in rural areas). This improves overall health and wellbeing among all living in these areas by helping them achieve better mental health outcomes at an earlier age than if they had waited until later stages of life when symptoms may be harder to treat successfully due to their severity or chronic severity nature.
Telepsychiatry is a game changer. It’s not just a tool that can be used to make access to care more convenient or flexible for patients and providers, but one that can help people who need it most in our society today.
For example, by allowing for remote access to mental health services, telepsychiatry is helping children and adults who live in rural areas without enough psychiatrists or psychologists nearby get the care they need without having to travel far away from home. Telepsychiatry also helps those with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder who may not have an easy time getting around traditional office visits due to their conditions.