Top 5 Benefits of Teletherapy
- John Carmody
- on Nov 01, 2021
The last two years have been particularly hard for all of us. Coping with the emotional stress of the pandemic is difficult enough but factor in job loss, social isolation, and anxiety about the future, and let’s just say it’s surprising that IKEA hasn’t rolled out a line of therapy couches to fit every American’s living room. Speaking of which, there is actually a way you can receive counseling without ever needing to leave your house. It’s called teletherapy and it involves using video chat to consult with a licensed therapist. If this sounds like an appealing option to you, make yourself comfortable on that IKEA couch and keep reading our list of the top 5 benefits of teletherapy.
What is Teletherapy?
Before we dive right into the benefits of virtual counseling, it’s important to first understand what teletherapy is. Teletherapy, also referred to as cybertherapy or online therapy, is any form of remote therapy in which telecommunication technology is used to support communication between a patient and a licensed therapist. To help you get a better idea of how that looks in real life, here are some examples:
- A virtual counseling session through a video conferencing app.
- Therapy through a chat messenger or email.
- Therapy conducted over the phone.
What Makes A Teletherapy Platform HIPAA-Compliant?
At this point, you’re probably wondering what a teletherapy appointment looks like. Do I simply hop on FaceTime with a therapist? While it is as easy as opening up a video chat on your smartphone, it’s best to never use FaceTime for any kind of remote medical treatment. We’ll explain why.
In healthcare, the use and transmission of a patient’s personal and health information is safeguarded by HIPAA. There are two HIPAA rules in particular, The Security Rule and The Privacy Rule that protect a patient’s electronic health information. When it comes to any kind of treatment administered remotely through telehealth technology, there have to be certain technical safeguards in place to protect the integrity of patient data. This includes ensuring that video chats are encrypted, secure connection verification measures are in place, and any third-party handling patient data has signed a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
So, in order to protect the privacy of your personal information, try to stay away from using any video conferencing app to communicate with a healthcare professional that does not state it’s HIPAA-compliant. However, most providers are very conscientious when it comes to HIPAA-compliance and only conduct virtual care through a carefully-vetted telehealth platform.
The Benefits Of Teletherapy
At Beam, we are committed to helping patients and providers connect on the only telehealth platform designed specifically for the mental health space. From the feedback we’ve received from patients using our platform, we noticed a trend in why patients were choosing teletherapy over an in-person appointment. Using that information, we put together a list of the top 5 benefits of teletherapy. We hope this list helps you decide if virtual therapy is right for you.
Being able to receive therapy from anywhere is probably the #1 reason why many patients are choosing teletherapy. From the comfort of your sofa, you can receive counseling from a licensed therapist who could be miles away.
Imagine getting off a long day of work and having to change, drive to your provider’s office and drive home. There’s simply not enough time in the day and if you’re already stressed, having to figure out how you’re going to get dinner cooked while you sit in traffic is just going to make whatever you’re dealing with that much worse.
But with teletherapy, there’s a lot more flexibility. You can get done what you need to, whether that’s preparing a meal, helping the kids with homework, or getting your workout in. When it’s time for your appointment, all you have to do is jump on a video call. There’s no sitting in traffic, arranging for a babysitter, or putting your life on hold.
Have you ever bumped into someone you know at a local doctor’s office? If you have, then you can understand why that may feel a little uncomfortable if it were to happen inside the waiting room of a therapist’s office.
When you’re using teletherapy, your privacy is completely ensured. You won’t have to worry about running into anyone you know and you can receive counseling from the solitude of your bedroom, which can feel especially reassuring if you’re discussing sensitive topics.
Even though a lot has been done to change the perception of mental health care, there is still a lingering stigma that patients seeking treatment may experience. For patients using teletherapy, they won’t have to worry about being treated differently because of their mental health concerns. Online counseling provides an extra layer of privacy allowing patients to feel more secure when opening up about their issues.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was one of the main ways to combat the spread of the virus. While the pandemic is slowly winding down and social distancing measures are being relaxed, for individuals with compromised immune systems, it may be best to limit visits to public places. With teletherapy, patients don’t need to leave their homes. This can be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or agoraphobia.
While it is true that teletherapy sessions generally cost the same as in-person appointments, you will save a lot of money in the long run on transportation, childcare, parking, and other associated expenses.
If you live in a remote area, this may be the most important reason to choose teletherapy. Gas prices are on the rise and it’s just not feasible to spend upwards of $20 to drive to your provider’s office. If you count childcare, parking, and possibly food for those coming straight from work, you’re looking at an expense that’s going to take a big chunk out of your budget.
The benefits of teletherapy also extend to providers. By making the choice to offer virtual therapy at your practice you can:
- Reach new patients.
- Commute to the office less.
- Enjoy a flexible schedule
- Reduce overhead
- And much more
If this sounds appealing to you, reach out to our highly-rated customer success team. We can have your virtual clinic up and running in as little as 24 hours with no downloads required. The Beam platform also provides all the necessary features of a fully-functioning clinic including:
- HD, HIPAA-secure video conferencing
- EHR integration
- Appointment scheduling
- Flexible payment options including credit, bank transfer, and pay-over-time arrangements
- HIPAA-secure document sharing
As specialist providers of telehealth for the mental health space, we’ve also developed a proprietary group therapy feature that supports up to 12 patients at once with individual audio control. This means you can raise or lower the volume of a group participant as needed. No other telehealth provider offers this unique feature. To schedule a free demo, click here.