A Telepsychiatry App: To Build or Not to Build?

artwork that depicts a male doctor waving through a computer screen. Artwork for a blog on building a telepsychiatry app.
telepsychiatry app

In the last two years, the United States has seen a rise in mental health concerns. According to a study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 41% of adults reported experiencing feelings of anxiety  and/or depression in January of this year. If you’re a psychiatry provider, you’ve probably used telehealth to treat your patients during the height of the pandemic. Now, as it becomes apparent that telehealth is here to stay, maybe you’re considering building your own telepsychiatry app to maintain your brand image across all channels. While that can be a great way to customize a telehealth platform, there’s quite a few drawbacks. In this article, we’ll explore how much it costs to develop a telepsychiatry app and offer some more budget-friendly and time tested alternatives. 

 

What is telepsychiatry? 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, telepsychiatry is defined as the use of telecommunications technology to administer psychiatric services such as medication management, evaluations, and individual, group, and family therapy.

Telepsychiatry has proven to be very effective for many patients. A survey found that 84% of patients who used telepsychiatry services considered the quality of care they received to be just as good or better than what they would expect from an in-person consultation. In fact, telepsychiatry offers some benefits that in-person appointments do not such as: 

  • Improved access to care for patients in remote and rural areas. 
  • Increased patient engagement.
  • Reduced delays in care. 
  • Reduced stigma for mental health treatment. 

 

Are Any Special Licenses Required To Practice Telepsychiatry?   

If you’re going to treat patients who are located in the state that you’re licensed to practice psychiatry in, you won’t require any additional license or certifications. However, if you’re planning to treat patients across state lines, you will need to be medically licensed in whatever state the patient resides. Luckily, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (ICML) has provided an expedited pathway to licensure for providers that meet certain eligibility requirements. However, it’s worth noting that only 32 states are currently members of the ICML. For more information on the ICML, visit  their website

 

Pros and Cons of Building a Telepsychiatry App 

Developing your own telepsychiatry app is a time-consuming and costly venture. However, it’s the best way to achieve the deepest level of customization. You can design the user-interface to match your brand and you can develop digital workflows to suit the unique needs of your practice. But before you make a decision, it’s important to consider all the advantages and disadvantages. 

 

Pros 

  • Total control over the provider/patient experience.
  • Completely customizable UI and UX. 
  • You own the technology. 
  • You can develop unique workflows.

Cons 

  • Significantly expensive. 
  • Requires ongoing maintenance. 
  • Features untested by patients.
  • Might not function as expected. 

 

How Much Does It Cost To Build a Telepsychiatry App? 

At Beam Health, we understand that this is the most important question, so we decided to consult Topflight, a leading app development service. According to their estimates, for a HIPAA-compliant telepsychiatry app without integrations or ongoing maintenance,  you’re looking at a likely cost of: $53,157. 

If your jaw dropped at that number, don’t worry. There is a much more cost-effective alternative – white-label telehealth.

 

What is white-labeling? 

White-labeling is when a company rebrands and markets a product produced by another company as its own. The term is believed to have its roots in the music  industry during the age of vinyl records. Record companies would create promotional copies and deliver them to venues with a white label to gauge the public’s interest. 

To white-label a telepsychiatry app, contact a telehealth vendor who offers a highly-rated  platform that supports HIPAA compliant video conferencing, EHR integration, streamlined billing, and appointment scheduling. Even if they don’t list it as a service on their website, most telehealth vendors are open to negotiating a white-label agreement. 

 

Benefits and Disadvantages of White-Label Telehealth

By white-labeling a telepsychiatry app, you can customize the user interface to match your brand image and you can add your name and logo to the dashboard. Patients will feel more secure entrusting you with their health and you can feel confident knowing that your brand is the only one they notice. However, it’s also important to be aware of where white-labeled telehealth falls short. 

 

Benefits 

  • Customized brand experience.
  • There are plenty of options to choose from.   
  • Platforms have been tried and tested by patients. 
  • Cost-effective.
  • Tech support for any issues.

Cons 

  • No ownership over the technology. 
  • More expensive than a standard telehealth platform. 
  • Inability to customize workflow.

The Beam Alternative 

Rather than spending over $50,000 on developing an untested telepsychiatry app that might not function as expected, consider white-labeling Beam. Beam is significantly less expensive, requires no downloads, and you can customize the platform to match your unique brand image. As specialists in the mental health space, we’ve helped countless psychiatric providers set-up successful virtual care clinics and we are confident we can do the same for you.To see how much money you can make using Beam, try our Revenue Calculator.  For more information and to schedule a free demo, click here

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