We often hear concerns from folks around how their patient population will respond to telepsychiatry services. Clinics and hospitals worry that their patients won’t like telepsychiatry and prefer a traditional in-person appointment. While these concerns are understandable, the good news is that they are unnecessary! We have found that patients don’t mind telepsychiatry at all – in fact, they love it!
Here are the top five reasons why:
1. Shorter Wait Times
We are all acutely aware of the shortage of providers across the nation causing wait times to routinely exceed six months. While we have accepted these wait times as the norm, patients find a six month wait hard to swallow. They are more than happy to see someone via telepsychiatry if it means getting care sooner rather than later. After all, they are scheduling an appointment to get help now, not in six months.
2. Reduced Travel Times
For those who don’t have the ability or desire to wait months to be seen, the only other option is to travel to the closest medical facility offering psychiatric services. That’s not usually a short trip. Many rural communities are hours away from the nearest metropolitan area, making seeking help nearly impossible. Between time off work, travel time and expenses, a single psychiatry appointment starts to add up. Fast. Telepsychiatry offers them the ability to be seen closer to home, saving them time and money.
3. Increased Patient Comfort
Perhaps the only benefit to traveling hours away from home to see a psychiatrist is that you won’t run into your psychiatrist at the grocery store. We all know psychiatrists maintain the highest levels of patient confidentiality, but many patients still prefer there to be a level of separation. In many rural areas, that level of separation is hard to come by due to the intimacy of the community. With telepsychiatry, patients can maintain that separation without having to travel. Separation allows patients to get comfortable much faster – making the care process more effective for clinic, provider and patient.
4. Fear Mitigation
Even if patients aren’t worried about running into their psychiatrist around town, seeking help can be scary. Anxiety, fear of judgement, and feelings of guilt or shame are common reasons patients avoid seeking psychiatric care. When seeing a telepsychiatrist, there is a literal screen between the patient and the provider, which can help reduce those fears. It’s a layer of physical separation that makes the process less intimidating – ultimately increasing the likelihood of patients seeking the care they need.
5. Tech is Today’s Reality
Probably the biggest concern we hear is that patients won’t be comfortable or capable of using the technology required for telepsychiatry. We can honestly say that this has never been a problem for two reasons. First, technology is simply the reality. Even older populations are becoming more and more comfortable with technology and enjoy the convenience of services such as Facetime. Secondly, the patient never has to touch the technology. A telepsychiatry visit looks exactly like any other psychiatry appointment. Patients check in and are walked back to a room where their psychiatrist is waiting for them. The only difference is that their psychiatrist is waiting for them on a screen rather than physically in the room.
If concerns surrounding patient adoption are the main barrier to entry for telepsychiatry services, there’s no need to wait any longer. Telepsychiatry allows patients to realize all the benefits of having access to mental health care, in addition to removing obstacles to obtaining it. Believe us, your patients will be thanking you for it!
About Iris Telehealth
Iris Telehealth is a telepsychiatry provider organization made up of the highest quality psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Our mission is to provide underserved communities with access to the best mental health specialists and prescribers. We are owned and operated by doctors who understand what patients need and have earned a reputation for providing outstanding customer service. Iris values building strong professional relationships with our partners and their staff. We are dedicated to understanding your organization’s needs and operational goals because we recognize that your success is critical to our own.
Iris Telehealth has helped countless hospitals and community health organizations across the country add telepsychiatry to their list of services. We believe everyone should have access to compassionate mental health care, and we have made it our mission to find innovative, affordable ways of making this possible!