Increasingly, more and more aspects of healthcare have been shifted online. You likely notice more electronic charting and fewer handwritten notes when visiting with your primary care physician. You may use a portal to message them, keep up with appointments, request prescription refills or get test results. As, this shift toward technology continues, the benefits are becoming more obvious. Digital records mean easier access and ease of communication between various members of your healthcare team, and for a growing number of patients, it means having the ability to visit with a physician through virtual appointments.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication technology such as video chat by a physician to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients from a remote location. While there are clearly areas of healthcare such as emergency care where telemedicine cannot be used, there are others such as psychiatry where the use of such technology can help greatly expand its availability to patients in need. Below are some of the advantages of telemedicine for psychiatric care, also known as telepsychiatry.
Telemedicine Eliminates Transportation Time and Costs
How often have you had something you needed to do but simply didn’t have the time? Chances are, this happens a lot. When you’re busy prioritizing what needs to be done and when, you may have a tendency to push some of your own needs to the bottom of the list. But, caring for your mental health is far too important to continue putting it off. If you feel that you would benefit from visiting with a psychiatrist but simply can’t find the time in your schedule, telepsychiatry can help by eliminating all of the extra drive and wait time and fitting more flexibly into your existing schedule.
Telemedicine Doesn’t Require Time off of Work
No one wants to use their vacation or sick time for a doctor’s appointment, and if you’re having to drive to an appointment and sit in a waiting room, chances are, you’ll have to take some time. Telemedicine, on the other hand, allows patients to fit visits with their doctor on their break time or even before or after work in many cases.
Telemedicine Expands Patient Reach
In the past, visiting with a psychiatrist was impossible for many patients. In some cases they live in rural areas with limited access to healthcare specialists. Others may be disabled, and some suffer from anxiety so intense that it prevented them from seeking help. Gradually, telepsychiatry is changing all of that. Now, regardless of where a patient lives or their current state of health, there is a psychiatrist available to them in the comfort of their own, familiar surroundings.
Telemedicine is Useful for Children
Children in particular may benefit from the use of telemedicine for psychiatric services. Not only are younger demographics generally more comfortable with the use of technology, it allows for mental health services to be obtained around busy schedules of school, homework, and extracurricular activities, meaning children won’t have to miss out elsewhere. Furthermore, studies have reported that parents of school-aged children who have previously received telepsychiatry services are highly satisfied with the outcomes.
So, could telepsychiatry be right for you or your child? There’s only one way to know for sure. To learn more about the services and if they are a good choice for you, contact Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge, where our board-certified psychiatrists are regularly helping patients through both in-office and virtual appointments. Because time, distance, or anxiety should not stand in the way of getting the care you need.