The Dirty Little Secret of Most Telepsychiatry Vendors

If you’re struggling to recruit quality psychiatrists – or even just any psychiatrists – you might turn to telepsychiatry as an alternative method to provide your patients with care.

It’s hard enough as it is to select a telepsychiatry company to work with, but what if I told you most telepsych vendors are keeping a BIG secret from you? Whether you work with us or not, you should know what you’re getting into. There’s a white lie most telepsychiatry vendors tell healthcare organizations, and it’s time for us to shed the light on what that is.

The Truth About Telepsychiatry Companies

“We have hundreds of psychiatrists in our network.”

How many times have you heard this from a telepsychiatry vendor? Maybe you’ve even heard them say they have thousands of psychiatrists in their network.

Though this statement might technically be true for them, it’s not necessarily true for you. What I mean by that is – those psychiatrists haven’t been interviewed, vetted, and prepped for work. They may have simply applied to work for the telepsychiatry organization. So, sure – their network of doctors might be large -- but their network of doctors who are employed and ready to work is small.

The truth of the matter is: the organizations that make these outrageous claims actually have few, if any, fully employed providers.

That might initially seem like no big deal to you, but in reality, that means you need to add an additional one to three months to your original timeline to implement telepsychiatry. Vetting doctors is no small task.

What many health organizations fail to do when they are looking into working with a telepsychiatry organization is to determine what the organization’s actual relationship is with the providers.

Reveal the Truth

There are a few simple questions you can ask to determine the relationship many telepsychiatry organizations have with their providers. These simple questions can help you cut through the hogwash and get straight to the truth.

1. How many providers do you currently employ?

This question allows you to figure out how many doctors are working for the telepsychiatry organization you’re speaking with. You don’t need to know how many are simply in their network; you need to know the number of providers who are actually on their payroll.

2. What is your relationship with those providers?

Are they 1099 or W9 employees? Do they provide benefits for their doctors, including PTO and malpractice insurance? Are the providers happily employed, and can the telepsych company provide testimonials to prove that? Continuity of care is important, which means the telepsychiatrist you work with needs to have a reason to stay with the company you partner with.

3. Do you have providers for the kind of work I need?

Do you have a need for specialty services, like child psychiatry or substance abuse care? If so, it’s important to say this up-front and make sure the telepsychiatry organization already has (or can find) a psychiatrist who will cover your specific need.

4. How long will it take for me to speak with your provider?

The answer they give to this question will allow you to determine if they have psychiatrists ready to go, or if they still have some recruiting to do. Depending on your timeline, this could be a “make or break” answer for you.

5. What is your vetting process like?

Do they do most of the work, or do they leave that up to you? One of the benefits of telepsychiatry is that it gives you the opportunity to work with some of the highest quality psychiatrists in the United States. Your telepsychiatry partner should be making sure you have access to those providers that are the best of the best.

Select Your Telepsychiatry Partner Wisely

Your telepsychiatry provider is going to be an extension of your company. Thus, they should be a true partner, integrating completely into your systems and making sure your patients get exactly what they need – including access to a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

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.