What are the Barriers to Telepsychiatry?

Barriers to Telepsychiatry

Clearing the Way to Mental Healthcare

Telehealth platforms have made healthcare services easier to manage. Gone are the days of walk-in clinics and difficult-to-schedule appointments. Now, virtual care presents mental and physical treatment accessible from your own home. But despite telehealth’s expansion, experts note a few remaining barriers to telepsychiatry. 

Virtual psychiatry appointments are one of telehealth’s greatest innovations. Thanks to video conferencing and prescription management, remote treatment is streamlined. But while other services get more popular by the day, psychiatry lags behind. And that’s despite a growing demand for counseling[1].

The barriers to telepsychiatry might look daunting, but telehealth services can overcome them. By outlining the challenges facing providers and their clients, Beam will offer solutions. When mental healthcare is a human right, increasing access to telepsychiatry will change lives.

Patients’ Barriers to Telepsychiatry

In turbulent and stable times, mental healthcare can go a long way. The chance to discuss your problems and manage symptoms is essential to anyone. But even when treatment is available, some potential clients pass up on care. And that’s because patients face numerous barriers to telepsychiatry. 

Lack of Knowledge

Telehealth has made incredible strides in the past few years. Remote care went from a niche field to one of medicine’s greatest trendsetters. At the same time, any service needs to invest time in outreach. Because even today, a lot of would-be clients don’t know the advantages of telepsychiatry. 

While primary care practices are popular, many users haven’t tried remote counseling services [2]. However, industry professionals haven’t seen a drop in psychiatric demand. This disconnect between demand and available providers can be solved. Even a quick Google search can bring patients to the psychiatrist best equipped to help them. 

Treatment Costs

Telehealth’s quick expansion is the product of dedicated healthcare workers. But while virtual treatment expanded, medical insurers had to adjust to the remote model. In the past, a lack of coverage was one of the biggest barriers to telepsychiatry. Thankfully, 45 states now accept Medicaid or private payer insurance for telehealth services [3].

As telehealth coverage grows, psychiatric services are more affordable. Telehealth coverage grows with every passing year. Many insurers don’t stop at covering prescriptions, either. More and more, patients have their therapy services covered, as well. At long last, the price of entry won’t get in the way of telepsychiatry.

The Stigma Around Treatment

Not all barriers to telepsychiatry are easily overcome. Even as mental health services gain popularity, the stigma around mental illness hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s no secret that therapy and medication can vastly improve a patient’s life. But all too often, people are reluctant to accept mental healthcare [4].

Mental wellbeing isn’t separate from a patient’s physical health. Counseling and medication can reduce psychiatric symptoms and grant a new perspective.  But there’s no way to access this care without overcoming the stigma surrounding mental illness. So, the more popular telepsychiatry gets, the less of a stigma patients will see around it. 

Providers’ Barriers to Telepsychiatry

For decades, we’ve seen a surge in the number of mental health professionals. As treatment methods evolve and improve, practices are happy to assist their clients. Of course, offering great healthcare poses unique challenges. As a result, providers face several of their own barriers to telepsychiatry. 

Compliance and Privacy

A patient’s wellbeing is important to every psychiatrist. So, to provide the best care, counselor oversight is important. To ensure your practice meets every legal standard, you have to keep the patient’s privacy and your licensure in mind. 

The best telehealth platforms factor in basic privacy requirements. So, to conduct secure psychiatric sessions, practices only need to follow a few simple instructions. Providers need secure communications that keep unauthorized users away from patient information [5]. Beyond that, counselors must observe the same HIPAA rules enforced in person. 

Licenses may pose another barrier to telepsychiatry. Every state has specific requirements on who can prescribe medication or offer therapy.  Before opening yourself up to a national audience, make sure that you and your practice are authorized to treat every patient. Most states list their requirements and the path to licensure online, so getting up to speed is easy. 

The Tools for your Job

Whether you run your own practice or work at a clinic, telehealth thrives on cutting-edge technology. Of course, this also means that technical problems can interrupt an important session. To provide the best psychiatric care, providers need a stable connection and reliable technology. 

First, every practice needs to choose a telehealth platform. While video conferencing and chat are important, the right software can do more for you. EHR integration, prescription management, and outreach features overcome most of the barriers to telepsychiatry. And when juggling clients in different states, the right platform will make managing patients simple. 

Finally, all providers need to invest in the right hardware. While a reliable network connection is important, consider adding a backup hotspot. Mental healthcare is delicate, and a lost connection can compromise a patient’s wellbeing. Providers also want a high-quality webcam to make conversations flow naturally. Straightforward tools like these can dramatically improve the quality of care. 

While there are a lot of barriers to telepsychiatry, they can all be overcome. And with Beam on your side, offering mental healthcare is easier than ever. We offer qualifying clinics a free year of access to our telehealth platform. Click here to learn more about this opportunity to grow your practice.

Sources:

[1]https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/17/well/mind/therapy-appointments-shortages-pandemic.html

[2]https://psychology.org.au/for-members/publications/inpsych/2020/june-july-issue-3/why-have-psychologists-been-slow-to-adopt-teleheal

[3]https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-coverage-for-telehealth-services.aspx

[4] https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination

[5] https://www.hipaajournal.com/hipaa-guidelines-on-telemedicine/

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