Video conference

What is Telepsychiatry?

Telemedicine is the process of providing health care from a distance through technology, often using videoconferencing. Telepsychiatry, a subset of telemedicine, can involve providing a range of services including psychiatric evaluations, therapy (individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy), patient education and medication management. Telepsychiatry can involve direct interaction between a psychiatrist and the patient. It also encompasses psychiatrists supporting primary care providers with mental health care consultation and expertise. Mental health care can be delivered in a live, interactive communication. It can also involve recording medical information (images, videos, etc.) and sending this to a distant site for later review.

Benefits

Video-based telepsychiatry helps meet patients’ needs for convenient, affordable and readily-accessible mental health services. It can benefit patients in a number of ways, such as:
  • Improve access to mental health specialty care that might not otherwise be available (e.g., in rural areas)
  • Bring care to the patient’s location
  • Help integrate behavioral health care and primary care, leading to better outcomes
  • Reduce the need for trips to the emergency room
  • Reduce delays in care
  • Improve continuity of care and follow-up
  • Reduce the need for time off work, childcare services, etc. to access appointments far away
  • Reduce potential transportation barriers, such as lack of transportation or the need for long drives
  • Reduce the barrier of stigma
While some people may be reluctant or feel awkward talking to a person on a screen, experience shows most people are comfortable with it. Some people may be more relaxed and willing to open up from the comfort of their home or a convenient local facility. Also, this will likely be less of a problem as people become more familiar and comfortable with video communication in everyday life.

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