How Effective Is Telepsychiatry? The Advantages And Disadvantages

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There are multiple different ways of treatment these days. It all depends on your preferences and beliefs, as well as whatever health challenge you are going through. Telepsychiatry providers are a type of health professionals that apply telemedicine to the psychiatry specialty field.

Telepsychiatry Defined

So what is telepsychiatry? This can simply be defined as treating patients and providing psychiatric care, through telecommunication technology, which is mostly delivered through video conferencing. It is a part of telemedicine that includes providing a range of different health care and services, such as psychiatric evaluation, therapy, and medication management.

Advantages Telepsychiatry

There are multiple benefits that come with telepsychiatry. It helps meet all the patient’s needs. It is a convenient, affordable, and readily available means of getting professional health care. Some advantages of telepsychiatry include;

Readily Accessible: Unlike having to wait in long lines in clinics and hospitals, telepsychiatry is readily available for patients regardless of their locations. It is also an effective way to bring health care to patients even those in rural areas and don’t have easy access to hospitals. 

Affordable: Telepsychiatry is affordable in many ways; the cost of transport from rural areas with no near hospital could be high. The same goes for the cost of setting appointments with health providers in the clinics. Telecommunication technology has made it possible and affordable for everyone to have access to psychiatry care.

Has improved mental health specialty treatment and care: The fact that many people can now get access to treatment and care regardless of their location is an improvement to mental health care, which might not have been available otherwise. The need for long drives or even a complete lack of transports has also been reduced

Reduce emergency trips to the hospitals: Being able to just call up your health care professional for help when needs arise has helped reduce delays in care and the need to keep rushing to the hospital all the time. It has also made continuity of treatments and therapy as well as follow-ups easy.

Allows more treatment for more patients: Telepsychiatry also allows doctors to treat many patients as compared to having appointments one by one. This includes group therapies, family education, and such. The time spent on the road for transport could also be used to treat more patients. 

Creates a sense of privacy and securities: The fact that the psychiatrist and the patient aren’t in the same room creates a sense of security and privacy. Some people feel more secure and safe while in the comfort of their homes. This allows them to open up more hence better treatment. 

Can be used in different settings: Telepsychiatry allows you to hold your sessions and appointments in different settings. This includes private practice, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, schools, military treatment facilities, and correctional facilities among others. 

Disadvantages of Telepsychiatry

As much as there are many advantages of telepsychiatry, there are also some downsides to it. Some of them include;

Awkwardness and uncomfortable: While to some people, it is more convenient and the most comfortable, it could be awkward and uncomfortable for some people, sitting and talking about private health matters through a screen. Some people find it more effective to physically hold their appointments. 

Technology might be a challenge: And this goes for both the patients and the telepsychiatry professionals. Some communities, especially in the deep rural areas, might not have efficient broadband service. Client staff also need to be proficient with technology. This needs training and may sometimes be a challenge. 

Not a lot of people in rural areas also have access to technological devices such as smartphones and computers. Sometimes connection may also be a challenge, especially during bad weather conditions.

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