The rise of technology has opened up many opportunities for development – especially in the medical and mental health space.
The pandemic has disrupted mental health services as we know it. It has also provided the perfect opportunity for telehealth to bridge the gap.
Telehealth services for mental health have helped countless individuals. As social distancing and lockdown have prevented in-person meet-ups, these services have been invaluable. The safe and interactive system between patients and clinicians has highlighted many benefits. They have also contributed to several developments.
Telehealth is quickly transforming from a periphery service to a permanent one in healthcare. Medical providers that don’t offer telehealth services for mental health could find themselves left behind.
Understanding Telepsychiatry and Telehealth Services for Mental Health
The manner of medical consultations has pivoted. Telehealth has helped to connect patients to vital health care services in various ways. These include videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults, and wireless communications.
Mental health services are no exception, and arguably a prime example of telehealth success.
Before the pandemic, less than 10% of the US population used telehealth services. Yet only 18% of physicians provided these virtual services. Since COVID-19, there have been several emerging medical trends. A lot of these show the increased use of telehealth services.
An increasing number of patients opting for telepsychiatry. As a result, more healthcare providers are investing in telemedicine EHR software. It’s expected that the future of telehealth will be a permanent feature of healthcare.
Setting Up Telehealth Services for Mental Health Care
It’s expected that the implementation of telepsychiatry health services will continue post-pandemic.
How To Set Up Telehealth Services
Before, the slow rate for adopting telehealth services was largely due to the lack of evidential success of virtual services. With the pandemic increasing stress, depression, and economic freedom, there has been a little option but to pursue telehealth services for mental health.
The first step is to select the best software for your practice. Second, the vendor will provide the necessary training to get your team up to speed.
Luckily for medical practitioners, telepsychiatry software is well established and tested. At PrognoCIS, we offer tried, tested, and proven EHR software.
Obstacles to Consider
Issues of parity are some of the biggest challenges to the uptake and implementation of telehealth. Reimbursement of telehealth encounters is not required by a federal statute. However, state parity laws can ensure providers receive comparable payment.
Before COVID-19, only five states had implemented telehealth parity laws. Recent analyses have indicated that this has increased to 13 states. These figures are still low despite an extra 21 states expanding telehealth services.
Some states have taken action via Medicaid policy. As a result of changes made by Congress, Medicare will now cover some telehealth psychotherapy services in certain instances.
Benefits of Telehealth and Virtual Care
Did you know that anxiety and depression cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion each year? Providing treatment and saving costs to the patient, provider, and economy is one major benefit of telehealth.
Telehealth has revolutionized mental health care as a medical intervention. It has provided easier access to mental health services to people who didn’t have the opportunity.
As mental health illness continues to be a serious issue across the globe, telehealth offers many benefits for both patients and providers.
Benefits for Patients
Saving the cost to the patient is one of many effective benefits of telehealth and virtual care. There are several others to add, including;
● Convenience for patients don’t need to travel to consultations or miss work
● Prevention of spreading the virus, a risk introduced by in-person meetings
● Patients can enjoy a treatment from the comfort and convenience of their home
● Costs are saved on travel, childcare, and taking off work
Benefits for Providers
Providers also benefit from telehealth and virtual mental health consultations. Some of these benefits include the following.
● Providers can offer for patients with mobility issues
● Providers can offer care for patients in rural or isolated areas
● Increasing patient engagement through remote monitoring and technology
● Clinical workflows and practices become more efficient
● Reduces the overhead costs of each visit, as well as the number of patient no-shows
Best Practices for Telehealth and Mental Health Care
There’s been a noticeable increase in mental health care needs. To meet these needs, it’s important for practitioners to follow best practices.
The predicted timeline for economic recovery suggests that this demand will continue. Especially among minorities and people with lower income as groups that usually suffer from increased social stress and financial turmoil.
Telehealth offers effective and manageable treatment, but it needs effective implementation. Especially to prevent stigma and protect both providers and patients.
Here are a few telepsychiatry practice guidelines to keep in mind:
● Work with your team and consider where there are opportunities for including telehealth
● Consider privacy issues that could arise by using various forms of technology. Software designed for mental health services take these concerns into consideration.
● Take time to assess your capacity and determine where technology can fill in the gaps
● Communicate any visitation policies and technological developments with patients
● Train staff to use the technology before putting it into practice with a patient
● Consider technology and software that incorporates patient monitoring and record-keeping
● Take advantage of a software provider’s technical support and resources
PrognoCIS Telepsychiatry Solutions
At PrognoCIS, we offer integrated telehealth software and EHR solutions. By doing so, we enable mental health practitioners to treat patients anytime, anywhere. Our software offers value-based care, allowing medical teams to offer effective virtual care.
Find out more about our extensive telemedicine offerings on our website. You can also contact us for a demo or discussion.