Self-care and mental health go hand in hand to improve and maintain a person's quality of life. Many people need support to nurture their mental health, so they have ongoing contact with a mental health professional. However, it is not always possible or easy to meet in person for these appointments. Telepsychiatry involves patients receiving psychiatric care and therapy with a professional with videoconferencing or phone calls.
Telepsychiatry is available at Wholehealth PLLC in Houston and the surrounding area. We use this method of patient contact for ongoing support. Telepsychiatry may be combined with other methods of treatment when appropriate. Our team will consider including it in a patient's customized treatment plan.
Call us today at 832-831-3183 to find out more about whether telepsychiatry is right for you.
Why Some Patients Choose Telepsychiatry
While there are a multitude of benefits to incorporating therapy sessions at our practice into a treatment plan, some patients may benefit from telepsychiatry as well. There are several possible reasons for why it may be more beneficial for a patient to choose telepsychiatry over traditional methods, including:
- Out of necessity. If patients are homebound or unable to get to a clinic, teletherapy may be their only option. The same goes for patients in rural areas, as well as special populations such as children and adolescents. Many places lack access to psychiatric care tailored toward juveniles.
- For convenience. People are busy. Some patients would have a difficult time making it to appointments without the flexibility of telepsychiatry. Others appreciate the option of video appointments because there is no travel involved.
- Due to personal preference. Anxiety and conditions may make it difficult for patients to interact with others face to face. In this case, they may feel more comfortable with telepsychiatry. Others would rather avoid the atmosphere at the practice, or the effort needed to get there.
What to Expect From a Telepsychiatry Session
Since a psychiatric appointment is a medical appointment, patient privacy laws apply. Therefore, patients should expect to use a secure software platform for their telepsychiatry sessions. Information about the software, including access credentials, should be shared ahead of time. Patients should also have an opportunity to test the software before the first appointment to be sure they know how it works.
When the provider and patient connect via video call, the process is similar to an in-person behavioral health appointment. During intake, the patient should have provided information about prior mental health assessments, overall physical health, current medications, and the reasons for starting teletherapy. Just as with in-person appointments, making notes ahead of time should help patients remember all the points they want to cover with the provider. Some items patients should note include:
- How they have been feeling
- What has happened to trigger these feelings
- What they have been doing to feel better
- Why they decided to get therapy
- What goals they have
Helping You Continue The Process
During the session, patients should expect to talk about anything and everything that is on their minds. The psychiatrist knows when to delve deeper into specific topics when appropriate. Above all, patients should speak freely, as no topic is off-limits, and psychiatrists are bound to confidentiality.
Depending on why a patient has sought therapy from our psychiatrist, we will make a diagnosis at the first appointment or a subsequent one. In any case, a treatment plan will be made to refer to during future visits. For more information on whether telepsychiatry is right for you, reach out to Wholehealth PLLC at 832-831-3183.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is telepsychiatry covered by insurance?
Some insurance carriers cover behavioral health, whereas others do not. If behavioral health is covered, the plan may also include teletherapy. To find out whether their plan offers coverage, patients should check with their insurance providers.
Can I get telepsychiatry if I have a mental illness?
In many cases, telepsychiatry can be effective. However, whether a patient is a candidate for telepsychiatry is a question for the practitioner. We can help find the most effective treatment for a patient during an initial consultation.
Is telepsychiatry legal?
In most cases, practitioners must be licensed in the location where they provide services. In telemedicine, the location of the patient determines where services are said to be provided. Therefore, patients wishing to connect with telepsychiatrists should find those licensed to practice in the patient's location.
Is telepsychiatry effective?
The American Psychiatric Association's Policy on Telepsychiatry, APA, states that psychiatry in the form of video conferencing is a "validated and effective practice of medicine." It goes on to say that telepsychiatry is "a legitimate component of a mental health delivery system." However, the APA emphasizes that practitioners must ensure that patient privacy is protected and that the technology is used in accordance with applicable law and medical ethics.
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