Telepsychiatry offers an enticing combination of benefits to patients and healthcare providers alike. From an unparalleled level of convenience to superb cost savings, telemedicine continues to grow as the healthcare community experiences its many advantages. Below is a look at the many people who can be helped by remote healthcare services.
Who Can Benefit from Telepsychiatry?
Telepsychiatry involves a provider’s use of an electronic platform to provide a variety of mental health care services to patients. While virtually all adult patients can benefit from telemedicine, it is most popular among adults between 25 and 34 years of age. Telemedicine is frequently used to provide follow-up care and medication management services to patients and the most common modes of telemedicine include telephone, email, and text. Video-based telehealth is also on the rise.
The Top 5 Benefits of Telepsychiatry
Telemedicine’s growth is not accidental. Consumers and mental health professionals are steadily incorporating online appointments into patient care plans. Below are the top five reasons why telepsychiatry is increasing in popularity.
1) Patient participation rates are higher. With up to 50% of patients failing to show up for traditional in-office healthcare appointments, care providers are increasingly turning to telepsychiatry to bolster rates of patient participation. There are many reasons why traditional face to face healthcare appointments yield poor participation rates. The most common barriers to participation include cost concerns, poor accessibility to care, and a lack of time. Telepsychiatry effectively addresses each of these barriers, paving the way for higher participation rates.
2) Healthcare providers and patients enjoy the convenience of telepsychiatry. Telehealth offers an unprecedented level of convenience for healthcare providers and patients alike. Examples of some of these conveniences include:
- Providers and patients can participate in healthcare appointments from their location of choice
- Patients do not have to battle traffic snarls to receive healthcare services
- Patients can participate in care appointments using their preferred mobile device or desktop computer
- Participants do not have to shower or change clothes to get ready for a face to face appointment
- Appointments can easily be scheduled outside of regular business hours
3) The cost savings offered by telepsychiatry are too great to ignore. In addition to telehealth’s lower out of pocket costs for appointments, patients enjoy a host of cost savings by participating in telehealth services. Here are a few of the hidden cost savings that telemedicine offers:
- Lower gasoline expenses due to elimination of travel time
- Overhead expenses are reduced for providers
- Patients don’t have to take time off from work, keeping earnings higher
- Vehicle wear and tear is reduced
4) Patients and providers can optimize their time. A lack of time is one of the top four reasons why people miss their healthcare appointments. Busy professionals are often confronted with last minute scheduling conflicts and are unable to completely abandon their work responsibilities for several hours to drive to and from a healthcare appointment. Telemedicine can help reduce the number of time-related no-shows in the following ways:
- Transit time is virtually eliminated, possibly saving hours of time for patients
- Patients do not have to spend excessive time in a crowded waiting room to see their providers
- Patients can return to regular activities immediately rather than having to drive home
5) Patients enjoy improved healthcare outcomes, especially in rural areas. Academic medical centers have found telepsychiatry to be an impressive means of improving care for rural populations. Additionally, telemedicine has produced significant results among the following underserved populations:
- People living in areas with high rates of poverty
- Older adults
- Individuals with limited mobility
- Populations associated with increased infant mortality
Future Directions for Telepsychiatry
Clearly, telepsychiatry offers a variety of advantages to patients and healthcare providers alike. These advantages combine to produce higher rates of patient engagement and satisfaction with health care services. With some studies indicating that over two-thirds of patients report improved satisfaction with telemedicine, it is no surprise that global services are projected to grow to $9.35 billion by 2021.