Telehealth Psychiatry: The New Frontier

For those focusing on their careers in psychiatry, staying up to date with all the latest and greatest tools and trends is becoming more important than ever before. The pandemic not only created a greater need for psychiatric and mental health support, it also created new ways we engage with these types of therapies and new ways we can obtain the needed trainings to answer patients’ needs.

In the height of the pandemic, the whole world was zooming and as a result, doctors of many disciplines transitioned to telehealth to provide their patients with the support they needed but could not necessarily access. Now, over two years later, telehealth has evolved immensely, and has provided much more flexibility and accessibility to the patients who need it most.

Telehealth is helping to make mental health services more accessible throughout the U.S. and throughout the world. However, many practitioners are not familiar with the complete functionality of using the platform and adjustments or best practices that need to be made in order to effectively deliver remote services. Telehealth is not only a tool to service patients but also can be used for telepractice training and certification in mental health.  

Telehealth Fits the Needs of Mental Health Services

Unlike other health professionals where a physical examination is part of treatment and prognosis, mental health does not need a physical examination. Even a consultation or preliminary session can be delivered virtually. For those interested in combining services of in-person and remote, telehealth is a great option. In a recent survey, Price Waterhouse-Cooper reported that 72 percent of people between the ages 18-44 were willing to receive mental health treatment via telehealth instead of face-to-face. 

Thanks to modern technology, telehealth is now ever-expanding. With innovative apps that integrate phones and computers, people with mental health needs can access their therapy easily no matter where they are.

Telehealth Offers Patients Additional Treatment Option

Many people can feel anxious or self conscious about going out to a mental health appointment for fear that someone may recognize them. For this matter, some people will not seek the help they need. Other patients may have conflicts with transportation, scheduling, or may not feel comfortable waiting in a waiting room in light of Covid-19. Issues such as these can make getting treatment stressful and can cause anxiety as well, ultimately worsening the existing mental illness.

Telehealth makes it possible to avoid these issues and pacify these concerns. Having the opportunity to receive treatment from the comfort of your own home also provides flexible working hours to better serve patients, many times providing house that are outside working hours and even on weekends.

Telehealth provides an added comfort and privacy that makes patients more willing to seek out their needed treatment.

Improve the Landscape of Addiction Treatment

In a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020. This is reported as the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.

The pandemic has made battling addcitions of all kinds harder than ever before. From gambling to drug and aclohol consumption, the boredom that many were forced into during lockdown resulted in the need for excitement. Unfortunately, excitement was manifested many times through substance abuse.

The need for treatment for addiction and substance abuse has become urgent. In particular, rural and low-income areas face the challenge of limited access to mental health treatment. 

Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky are a few states that have been heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic. In fact, the government has put 1.4 million dollars in grants towards telemedicine programs because of this growing endemic. With the government’s support, targeting opioid abuse and providing access to mental health resources is something that is finally obtainable. 

Telehealth Benefits Physicians Careers

Telehealth isn’t just a tool for patients to access their doctor’s and treatment more easily. It’s also a tool that physicians can use for their own training and for working with other physicians in their area of expertise. Physicians are able to take trainings and utilize telehealth to learn its capabilities – specifically with regards to virtual examinations. Examining a patient virtually is quite different than in-person. In order to get the most out of the exam it’s important that the physician is well versed in the ability to read a patient’s physical appearance and body language cues during virtual visits.

Today there are many telehealth courses available to physicians and they provide students the opportunity to shadow physicians via video conferencing allowing them to learn telehealth terminology and communication skills. Have you taken advantage of all that telehealth has to offer? Check our website for more news and information on how you can make the most of telehealth innovations.

Authored By 

LifeStance Health
LifeStance Health