Patients In Remote Areas Turn To Telepsychiatry

Telemedicine and telehealth solutions, a new technology used “to do things such as take patients’ vital signs and send the results remotely,” according to U.S. News, is rapidly evolving. As conferencing solutions grow more effective every day, more healthcare providers are realizing a simple truth: health does not just encompass physical well-being. And that’s where telepsychiatry software comes in.

Telemental Health Reaches More People
“Only about 20% of adults with mental health disorders see mental health specialists,” Information Week reports. Similarly, with as many as 20% of U.S. children having a serious, diagnosed mental disorder, the potential number of children who remain un-diagnosed is a troubling thought. Now for the good news: Telepsychiatry may help address these problems. For one, patients who take part in telepsychiatry are actually much more likely to keep appointments and schedule new ones (on average, 92% of telepsychiatry patients keep appointments vs. 87% of face-to-face patients). On top of that, patients who live in remote areas — at a distance that prevented them from talking to a therapist in the past — now have access to mental health professionals through telemedicine. Thanks to the new practice, patients just need a desktop, laptop, or tablet with a camera and sound, and that’s it.

Are There Downsides To Telepsychiatry?
The answer is yes and no. While there is one obvious downside — the inability to experience true face-to-face interaction — telemedicine video conferencing solutions get better every day. While video conferencing can’t replicate face-to-face interactions exactly, it is getting pretty close. Modern video can zoom and re-focus, enabling psychiatrists and patients to more accurately interpret gestures and facial expressions. The bigger problem, according to U.S. News, is sound quality. Patients with hearing difficulties need to make certain that they have devices with good sound.

Mental health can be just as important as physical well-being, and, sometimes, the difference is not always clear-cut. About 30 to 35% of Americans with chronic illnesses also suffer from mental illness. Now, telepsychiatry is bringing mental health care to more patients than ever before — even patients in remote areas.