Editor’s note: Alena explains how it is worth investing in telehealth technology by showing the benefits it can bring to healthcare organizations and patients. And if you are considering taking advantage of telehealth technology in your organization, check out ScienceSoft’s offer development of telemedicine applications.
Since July 2020, many Americans have reported they faced health problems from sleeping (36%) or eating (32%) and increasing alcohol or substance use (12%), due to anxiety and stress due to coronavirus. In addition, naturally, patients with mental health issues often feel uncomfortable visiting a care center and discussing their issues face-to-face. In my opinion, the use of telemedicine technology to provide mental health services is one of the most effective measures to solve these problems.
Fortunately, this technology is on the rise. How statistics For example, the U.S. telemedicine market was estimated at $ 17 billion in 2019, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of nearly 36% as of 2018. Let’s see how telemedicine can become a solution. effective in providing accessible and quality mental health services.
In terms of basic functionality, telepsychiatry solutions are similar to general telemedicine applications, such as real-time video and audio conferencing, medication management, 24-hour chat with a doctor, refilling / renewing prescriptions, and more. . A telehealth app can be an indispensable tool for organizing remote monitoring of medication and patient intake and increasing patient participation in their treatment. ScienceSoft offers more details on telemedicine solutions this page.
However, the functionality of telemental applications is tailored to suit the needs of mental health professionals and patients. For example, with live video conferencing capabilities, mental health care providers can conduct behavioral therapy sessions for their patients, conduct an assessment of the patient’s condition, or group therapies.
Telehealth allows health care providers to improve the accessibility and quality of care delivery. Consider the benefits in more detail.
Visit a psychiatrist from anywhere at any convenient time
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 111 million people alive in areas of shortage of mental health professionals. The use of telehealth technology improves patients’ access to specialized mental health care.
Decreased psychological distress compared to face-to-face visits
42% of people who have never had a mental health diagnosis consider or know someone who said people with mental health disorders scare them. This is why people diagnosed with a mental illness or experiencing worrying symptoms may feel afraid to meet an acquaintance on their way to the therapist’s office, and the visit will trigger symptoms of illness (e.g., anxiety).
People with possible mental health disorders may avoid face-to-face help for fear of admitting their problems completely or because they do not find conventional mental health care services confidential enough or feel ashamed. Because telemedicine allows for remote behavioral health services, patients can be assured of near-total confidentiality and can receive treatment in a place they consider psychologically safe.
A wider selection of mental health specialists
Due to the increased accessibility of mental health services, patients may find a mental health professional that they like very much. Emotional compatibility between the patient and the physician is key to the success of therapy.
Reduction of transport time and costs
For individual patients, the use of telehealth and the decrease in the need to visit the doctor in person it turned out in 278 miles less traveled and $ 156 in travel cost savings.
Reduced professional exhaustion
The use of telemedicine in psychiatry expands physicians ’access to more diverse patient populations, which increases their professional interest, reduces the level of routine, and helps prevent exhaustion.
Improve patient outcomes
The functionality of a telehealth application allows you to take the treatment process to a higher level. As the experience of my clients shows, constant monitoring of patients and online control of drug intake with the help of telemedicine technology increase the chances of a successful treatment outcome. In addition, with technology, patients can become more enthusiastic about their treatment process and rely more on their psychiatrists, which certainly has a positive effect on treatment outcomes.
Increased work efficiency
In accordance with American Well Telehealth Index: 2019 Physician Survey, 77% of physicians who have already used telehealth technology point out that telemedicine solutions contribute to a more efficient use of time for physicians. For caregivers, it means greater work efficiency, as electronic visits take less time and the workload is evenly distributed among mental care specialists in a given area.
Bring more timely psychiatric care to the emergency room
About one in eight emergency room visits It is related to mental illness or substance use. Many emergency departments are not equipped to care for people with severe mental health problems and do not have psychiatrists or other mental health doctors to assess and treat mental health problems. Telehealth allows emergency services to organize remote telepsychiatry sessions for patients using video conferencing.
Decreased direct and indirect costs
Direct costs (e.g., provider time, medical supplies) as well as indirect costs (e.g., clinic space, administrative support, and transportation of inpatient psychiatric patients from their local hospitals to psychiatric facilities) are declining due to the use of telehealth. 16 sessions of cognitive-behavioral telehealth therapy for more than 20 weeks could save an clinic approximately $ 2,025 per patient compared with face-to-face treatment.
There is a reason why some patients or healthcare professionals may be hesitant when using telepsychiatry: it is about the confidentiality of patient data during telepsychiatry sessions. Due to the exchange of confidential patient information, telemedicine software should comply with the Medical Insurance Portability and Liability Act (HIPAA). There are many standalone video conferencing tools on the market that can be implemented quickly, but very few are qualified exclusively for medical use.
Currently, all U.S. states have some form of reimbursement for mental health services, but telemental care policies vary from state to state. You can visit it Connected Health Policy Center to learn about your state’s policies.
Due to the public health emergency of COVID-19, mental health care providers treating Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries may be easier implement telehealth services. For example, during a pandemic, psychologists may offer teleconsultations from home to new and established Medicare patients. Reimbursement for telehealth visits is the same as for face-to-face visits.
The size of the global telepsychiatry market was valued at $ 5.5 billion in 2019 and is expected grow at a CAGR of 24.7% from 2020 to 2027. Makes the field of telepsychiatry promising for investment. If you want to create a telehealth solution for mental health care and need help at any stage of the development cycle, from consulting to support and the evolution of an application, do not hesitate to contact the ScienceSoft team.