Why Telepsychiatry is Here to Stay
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most psychiatrists had never held an appointment through telehealth. In fact, a study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that of all the psychiatrists that participate in the Medicare program, only five percent had ever provided a telehealth appointment.
When the novel coronavirus took hold in the United States, this changed quickly. Almost all psychiatrists now offer some form of telepsychiatry. They may connect with patients over the phone or video conferencing. Even when the pandemic is over and in-person appointments are safe once again, telepsychiatry is likely here to stay because it’s effective, accessible, and convenient.
Telepsychiatry is Effective
The American Psychiatric Association described video-based telepsychiatry as a “validated and effective” method of practicing this type of medicine. It’s important to note that the organization specifically calls out telepsychiatry that includes video conferencing, which is what we provide. This assessment of the efficacy of telepsychiatry is based on decades of research into the subject.
Studies continue to show that online psychiatry appointments are at least as effective as their in-person counterparts when it comes to patient outcomes. In some cases, telepsychiatry is more effective because it’s more accessible and convenient, which makes the continuation of care more feasible.
Telehealth Increases Access to Psychiatric Care
Each year, approximately one in every five people in the United States live with a mental illness. However, 77 percent of the counties in the United States have a severe psychiatrist shortage. This equation means that millions of people in this country may go without the mental health care they need due to a lack of access. This problem is set to worsen as about 66 percent of psychiatrists are over the age of 55 and nearing retirement.
Of course, the country will need more psychiatrists. However, this is not the only solution to this crisis. Telepsychiatry allows more people to connect with psychiatrists, even when they are in different counties. This is especially impactful for people who live in rural areas, which sometimes do not have a single psychiatrist in the county. As more people are able to access psychiatric care, the demand for continued care will likely grow long after the pandemic is gone.
Specialized Care That is Convenient
Many people see their primary care physicians in order to get the psychiatric medication they need. Similarly, many parents take their children to their primary pediatricians for help with things like ADHD. Families may avoid seeing a specialist for psychiatric care because doing so is inconvenient or nearly impossible.
With telepsychiatry, patients can access specialized care with ease. While primary physicians do an excellent job of getting patients started with medication, research patients get the best outcomes when they receive specialized care in conjunction with care from their primary provider. That’s why our clinics work closely with all members of a person’s medical team to provide the highest quality of care.
If you’re ready to schedule a telepsychiatry appointment, contact us today. Our kind, professional team can book a secure online call with a licensed psychiatrist near you.