Psychiatry medicine, also known as telepsychiatry is the process of giving healthcare through technology. This can be done through Skype and other forms of video conferencing. The services that can be provided include diagnosis, medication, specialty consultation, therapy.
Telepsychiatry became necessary when the psychiatry world was faced with the challenges of the scarcity of psychiatrists especially in the field of child and teenager’s psychiatry. Below are some of the benefits of telepsychiatry:
- Saves stress: Psychiatric telemedicine saves the doctors the stress of having to travel from one location to another to provide health care to their patients.
- Accessibility: Through psychiatric telemedicine, patients in the rural areas do not have to travel to the urban communities for treatment, since the same care can be provided, provided there is the internet.
- With the advent of telemedicine, doctors have been able to do more for their patients, and also have access to more patients, thereby, maximizing the potentials of the doctors
- Psychiatrists have also benefitted immensely from telemedicine because it has increased their wages. It has also increased their job satisfaction index because they now have more access to their patients wherever they are.
- Psychiatry telemedicine has also improved the field, as doctors from different locations can now get on a video conference to discuss and share ideas.
- Psychiatry telemedicine also reduces the shame that the society has associated with mental health problems. Patients can now from the comfort of their homes seek assistance. Patients do not have to resort to suicide or self-harm when help is just a click away from them.
- Through telepsychiatry, patients do not have to endure long waiting time in the hospital. This invariably makes it easier for them to seek help.
- Telepsychiatry saves money: Telemedicine saves patients the cost of having to travel down to the hospital. This is most important for patients that have diseases that require regular visits to the hospitals.
- Increases the patient base of doctors: Through telemedicine, patients can have access to their doctors, even from the comfort of their homes. Patients who would have rather kept their mental condition to themselves now seek assistance from psychiatrists, hence boosting the doctor’s base, hence improving the health care of the people. This is really beneficial to psychiatrist that provides the following services:
- Primary health care
- Refers patients to specialist
- Monitors patient from a different location
- Provision of health education and sensitization
- Provides information that can be easily understood by the people
10. Telemedicine afford physicians the chance to have access to patients that are not in the same region as they are.
11. Better outcomes: Since patients now have ready access to their doctors, doctors have recorded more successful outcomes. This can be attributed to the improved connection between patients and physicians. Doctors can easily monitor the medication and improvement of their patients, all remotely!!
Is Psychiatric Telemedicine Covered By Insurance and Medicare?
Medicare is an insurance program that is run by the government of the United States. It is for people aged 65 and above, who have over the years paid money in the form of tax over the years of working. Medicare takes care of their health bills. Over thirty states in America has made it a law for insurance companies to include psychiatry medicine. Medicaid programs in over forty-five states do refund some services provided through psychiatry telemedicine. However, states are consistently reviewing changing their stand on this. They are continuing to advance. Medicare will repay the money on the condition that the service was offered to someone in the rural area.
Is Psychiatric Telemedicine As Effective As An In-Office Visit With Your Doctor
The effectiveness of psychiatry telemedicine can be judged based on some premises which include patient’s satisfaction, the outcome of the procedure, and the perspective of the society as a whole. It has been noted that with some age groups (under 25), telepsychiatry has proved more effective, as people of this age would rather get some medical assistance from the comfort of their homes, than actually visiting the hospital. It also saves them the stigma that the society has placed on mental health problems.
Considering that children and adolescents relate more with technology, telemedicine is preferable to them. In addition, it has been proven that some specific health conditions such as autism spectrum disorders are better treated through psychiatry telemedicine than in in-office visits. Some adults prefer to physically visit the hospital, which makes the in-office visit more effective to them. However, neuropsychiatric studies have shown that patients who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have benefitted more from telepsychiatry than in in-office visits.
The delays and long waiting times associated with visiting the hospital makes it less desirable. Telemedicine is an alternative, and you do not have to queue on a line, to see your doctor. All you need to do is just book an appointment, then call your psychiatrist. Not only does this increase physician accessibility, but psychiatrists can also check on their patients on a regular basis, and in real time. There is an improved medication adherence, overall making telehealthcare more efficient.
Telepsychiatry makes it possible for patients suffering from the same or similar mental condition to get together on a platform, such as a conference call to discuss symptoms and improvements, with a psychiatrist moderating the call. Sharing experiences with someone going through it is quite therapeutic and gives hope to the patients. Overall, telepsychiatry has been shown to be as effective as in-office visits based on results, age, accessibility, patient satisfaction, and doctor satisfaction.
Can All Mental Health Disorders Be Treated By Telemedicine?
Lots of mental health disorders can be treated through telemedicine. However, some conditions require the health practitioner to be physically present. In cases like severe depression, the patient has to be put under a close watch and monitored. Also, cases of severe mental instability require the psychiatrist to be physically available. Some patients would need to be restrained, and drugs administered to them, psychiatrists cannot do this via a video call, and the patients cannot help themselves in this scenario. These are the few limitations of telemedicine. However, follow-up and further patient management can be done through telemedicine when the patient’s condition has improved.
Can A Psychiatric Telemedicine Doctor Prescribe and Manage My Medications?
Psychiatric telemedicine doctors are licensed, medical professionals. They are the people you would meet in the hospital on a good day, just that they are communicating through a video call this time. They are qualified and can give you prescriptions after getting all the necessary history from you, and make evaluations. It is also easy for them to manage your medications, as you don’t have to leave your house. All it takes is just a call. It is actually easier to manage your medications through telemedicine than through in-office visits.
Are Psychiatric Telemedicine Doctors Qualified To Handle All Mental Health Disorders
Telemedicine Psychiatrist can take care of all mental health disorders, except for severe conditions that would require the physical presence of a doctor, severe cases of depression and other mental health disorders. Psychiatric telemedicine doctors are qualified professionals.
Why Telemedicine Is The Medicine Of The Future
Technology has been a part of our lives for a long time and there have been major improvements over the years. It is rapidly becoming essential to health care, as it provided solutions to most of the many problems patients have with health care. Few of these challenges include accessibility, cost of transportation, the stigma associated with some diseases, long waiting time, delays and the cost of healthcare.
Telemedicine has the enormous potential to address the numerous problems that have historically been experienced at home and worldwide. The use of Telemedicine is a prime sample of how technology can be used to improve healthcare by providing solutions to the myriad difficulties associated the way health care is being dispensed and administered. Great improvements have been made both in diagnosis, therapy, follow-up, specialty consultation, medication, treatment of patients across ages, tax brackets and location: especially in people who live in rural areas and where there are not many doctors. The future of medicine is looking very promising, if we are to look fifty years back, and compare to what we have now, we can only marvel in anticipation of what’s to come.
Medicine is an amazing field of science and practice, and telemedicine is one of the next frontiers.
Even though there are still quite some things to do — especially regarding ethics, legal and other issues—it would be really great to see the interplay between telemedicine and in-office visits. Imagine a world where after you make your first visit to the hospital, your consultant video-calls you a couple of hours after, just to see how you’re doing. Interesting times are ahead of us.
Developments are being made, such as augmented realities, 3D images, and scans, which will be introduced into use in the nearest future. This will provide new and improved approaches to the delivery of healthcare, therapy, diagnosis, and treatment. All of these will improve the level of communication between physicians and patients, enhance patient satisfaction and consequently yield better results. However, developing countries still have challenges with telemedicine due to unstable electricity, lack of hardware and weak internet connection. Hardware and the price of internet servers can be quite expensive, that local communities might not be able to afford them.
What is the Cost of Psychiatric Telemedicine VS Traditional in Office Treatment?
Psychiatric telemedicine is a cheaper substitute to in-office visits. This is good for both the insurance providers and the patients. A recent study recorded that the mean cost of doctor’s visit will set a patient back by about forty-two dollars in lost time. This is also included in the patient’s total medical bill. Patients get to save a lot of money, the cost of having to travel to the hospital, the waiting time, and the commute time. This is especially important for individuals with chronic mental conditions that need regular hospital visits.
However, we have to consider the cost of setting up a proper telemedicine unit, because not all individuals can afford the units or have access to constant power and strong internet. The hardware involved in setting up a unit can be quite pricey. In addition to this, internet servers have to be purchased, which does not come cheap either. Data transmission, the cost of the maintenance, repairs of equipment, and the expenditures that come with the administration.
Fixed costs also include the rental cost of lines, income and wages, and administrative expenses. Variable costs include data transmission costs, fees for service, and maintenance and upgrades of equipment. Expenditures may also include projections for travel, transfers in emergencies, long waiting times, delays and more “appropriate” use of other required services or, more globally, by rural towns retaining dollars that would have been otherwise gone to suburban centers upon referral.
In regards to cost, it is best to delineate between differing types of cost analyses. The cost-offset model, which infers that treating mental conditions may reduce other health costs, is widely used. The cost-minimization analysis implies the same effectiveness model, but different (lower) costs. Cost-effectiveness assesses intervention costs versus alternative expenditures; a subtype is a cost-utility analysis, which includes data on health-related quality-of-life measures (i.e., quality-adjusted life-years).
The Cost-benefit analysis values all outcomes by translating them into economic terms to the degree possible and is particularly significant when an intrusion appears far too expensive at face value (or cross-section) but not longitudinally (e.g., a transplant helps somebody live and work an additional 50 years; this calculation grows into quality of life-years analysis).
As time is money, doctors get to save a lot of time. They get to see more patients, and invariably get more money. Overall, psychiatric telemedicine is more cost-effective than in-office treatment, along with other benefits too.
Now that you know a lot about psychiatric telemedicine don’t joke with your health, if you experience any unexplained symptoms, consult the nearest doctor near you.
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