The social distancing and stay-at-home mandates following the pandemic have caused a sudden shortage in psychiatric care. This led healthcare providers and clients to turn to technology for the continuation of psychiatric services, and they did this through telepsychiatry.
Telepsychiatry is a strategy that uses online interfacing for consultations, diagnoses, prescriptions, and administering psychiatric therapies. Its recent growth has even outpaced telemedicine, attributing to psychiatric assessments’ reliance on interviews more than on physical examinations. Efficiency is just one of its positive aspects, so here are a few others that go on to prove why you should consider telepsychiatry:
Both clients and providers report high satisfaction ratings with telepsychiatry. Parents and caregivers, in particular, are extremely satisfied with the psychiatric care their children receive. Moreover, most people who receive telepsychiatric care say that they’re more willing to open up as they’re in the comforts of their own home.
In the same report, telepsychiatry is said to be on par with in-person care in terms of the accuracy of diagnosis, effectiveness of treatment, and client privacy and confidentiality. It essentially provides everything you’d need from psychiatric care, with the added benefit of being at ease in a familiar environment.
Telepsychiatry removes barriers to access like transportation and time — barriers magnified under the current COVID-19 crisis. Not to mention, telepsychiatry also plays a part in addressing the shortage of psychiatric professionals in the U.S. It eases the burden on psychiatrists since it opens up more avenues for people seeking psychiatric care. Telepsychiatry gives access to a variety of psychiatric professionals such as counselors and psychiatric nurses.
As telepsychiatry is becoming more widely practiced, tele-education is also on the rise, helping produce more psychiatric care providers. For one, thanks to online RN to BSNprograms, nurses can now advance their practice and become certified psychiatric nurses. These programs incorporate up-to-date lessons on psychology and patient care into the curriculum. These purely online classes allow nurses to upskill while working, using accredited courses from reputable institutions. This makes their degrees just as valid as traditional ones. More psychiatric nurses mean accessibility is improved even further for telepsychiatry clients. So even if they can’t get a hold of psychiatrists immediately, they can be confident that there are nurse and counselor lines they can reach at any time.
There’s a significant reduction in costs with telepsychiatry. As it improves accessibility, there would be less required time away from work and fewer transportation costs. This is a huge benefit specifically for those who live a long way away from psychiatric clinics. It’s important to note, however, that these expenses are exclusive of the costs for the psychiatric services themselves.
So far, studies have been inconclusive in finding out whether telepsychiatry is more affordable than face-to-face consultations when it comes to the cost of the care itself. But even if the sessions themselves are roughly at the same price point, the savings you get from indirect costs are still significant.
The kinds of therapy available in the telepsychiatric setting range from individual therapy to family or group therapy. For others, having a group therapy session is easier to do online, especially when the clients involved live in different areas. And during the pandemic, there are multiple health risks to contend with in group therapy.
Plus, this would allow clients to build better relationships with family and loved ones. Therapy works best when it’s done consistently, so going on long periods without it could impact how effective treatment is on a whole.
The COVID crisis may have put too much strain on the healthcare system, but it has also caused a lasting shift in how care is delivered. It’s providing opportunities for technology-integrated and innovative healthcare solutions such as telepsychiatry.
Written exclusively for ctrfamilyguidance.com
By Fin Riley