Behavioral Telemedicine Goes Mainstream
November 10, 2017
While a large majority of Americans today identify as sufferers of anxiety, depression, or another sort of mental health condition, there can be a lot of roadblocks standing in the way of receiving care. Experts cite that there is a nationwide shortage of healthcare professionals, with rules regulating the in-network healthcare sought, a lot of patients are simply not receiving the treatment they need. Traditional healthcare models offer no new answers, which is why more healthcare providers are breaking the mold with digital health software solutions specifically designed to support Telemedicine, a platform that offers to connect patients with providers via video-conferencing and audio technologies.
Telehealth comparable to in-person care
Telehealth is offering serious results to those affected by mental health disorders, with outcomes that are comparable, if not better than in-person visits to a health care professional. According to a 2015 large-scale review of telehealth practices by the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group, researchers found that outcomes for those seeking telemental health treatment, in combination with other medical conditions, were no different than the outcomes reported from patients receiving in-person care.
The shift to telehealth by insurers
Did you know that more and more states are requiring insurers to add a telehealth benefit to health care plans? According to a recently conducted National Business Group on Health survey, almost all major employers will include some sort of telehealth benefit to employees within the next four years. 2016 ended with a big move in telehealth, as UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s biggest insurer, stated that they would offer “virtual physician visits” as an added benefit to health plans. Additionally, the Department of Veteran Affairs invested one billion dollars in telehealth services and research.
Emergence of telehealth explained
Why the push to telehealth? Because of the benefits to both the patient and the provider. While many patients feel as though healthcare can be unobtainable, telehealth serves to eradicate geographical barriers to care while overcoming the costs associated with scheduling an in-person session. Telehealth also seeks to eliminate the in-network challenges with traditional health care models, with some states even offering telehealth providers with an interstate licensure compact, meaning they can offering mental health services from across state lines. Telehealth is becoming more mainstream because it seeks to solve the issue of drained resources or access or even the lack of convenience. Many patients seeking mental health treatment see only the stigma attached to seeking out care. Telehealth is the solution that allows patients to receive care in the privacy and comfort of their own homes, without the barriers of location.
To see how telehealth can work wonders for your own mental health practice, contact a wecounsel customer success representative at 888-958-2885.