It's no surprise that technology is essential for telepsychiatry. However, it's worth exploring how to utilize it effectively for creating lasting relationships with your remote psychiatrists.
Why it's Essential to Engage with Your Remote Psychiatrists
The Association of American Medical College (AAMC) reported there are 28,000 psychiatrists in the U.S (2018), where 60% of the U.S counties don't have a single practicing psychiatrist (NAMI, 2017). There is an evident shortage of providers. That’s why retaining them now is more critical than ever – and we’re here to help.
Telepsychiatry has been a great option to cushion this shortage, but these remote psychiatrists are starting to become a hot commodity. Finding the best practices in engaging your remote psychiatrists with your on-site staff will reduce the headache of possibly losing a quality team member.
5 Ways to Create a Long-Term Relationship with Your Remote Psychiatrist
1. Engage Them in Staff Meetings & Case Reviews
Many remote providers have worked in clinics very similar to yours, which differ from their current secluded setting. Engaging them in staff meetings and case reviews can create a sense of normalcy and inclusion. Not only does this validate the provider’s opinions, but it can also help your organization receive valuable insight from an alternative perspective.
The more digital interaction the remote psychiatrists can receive with your on-site staff, the more comfortable they will be working together. It will create a greater sense of teamwork and naturally build on personal rapport. One thing we do at Iris is host digital lunch and learns with our team members where we have our medical directors and other executives talk on a desired topic. We connect on a platform called Whereby, which is a URL based video chatroom; however, any other video conferencing software works just fine.
2. Celebrate All Wins Together - Big and Small
Use a community chat channel like Slack, to celebrate and share weekly wins among the providers. You can also use this digital channel for celebrating holiday pictures, birthdays, etc. Yet, of course, allow them the option to opt-out if they would rather not participate. In these instances, the efforts in engaging your remote providers are far more appreciated than not trying at all.
3. Digital Coffee Break
We know there can be days where it's challenging to get some personal time in. However, even on those busy days, your on-site staff can engage with monthly one-on-one digital coffee hangouts with the remote psychiatrists. They can set aside 15 minutes on their calendars and share their morning coffee or their 3rd-afternoon cup of coffee (depending on how much you need your caffeine). These quick hangouts can also allow for the remote provider to give an exciting virtual walk-through of their workspace.
You can use a platform like Skype or Whereby, as mentioned above, or something as simple as your iPhone!
4. Promoting Topical Discussions
We tend to say we don't have enough time unless we make it. Set some time aside to have the entire medical staff discuss current issues related to psychiatry and mental health. These topical discussions promote the importance of continuing education while finding time to meet as a team.
5. Keep It Fun!
While technology helps our lives become more efficient and comfortable, it also makes things more fun! You can start incorporating memes, gifs, and funny pictures in your digital conversations. A career in medicine can be stressful, so anytime your team can alleviate some of the stress, be sure to include your remote employees within the fun conversations. After all, it was you guys who said laughter is the best medicine.
It's unreasonable to expect the shortage of psychiatrists will be resolved overnight, so now it's more critical than ever to take steps towards retaining your existing providers. Try some of the above practices in keeping your remote psychiatrists engaged and happy. Since you are already investing in different forms of digital communication, you might as well get creative with the technology for improving engagement across the board! What's the outcome? A happy and long-term psychiatrist that is an extension of your team!
Mental Health By The Numbers. (2017, October). Retrieved February 6, 2020, from https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
Weiner, S. (2018, February 12). Addressing the escalating psychiatrist shortage. Retrieved February 6, 2020, from https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/addressing-escalating-psychiatrist-shortage
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.
Want to learn more?
Click here to download a free telepsychiatry guide.