Telepsychiatry is a great way to improve access to care for your patients, but how do you know if it would be a good fit for your health system? Before you make a decision, there are several components you should consider, like what care models would be most beneficial for your organization, how to ensure the right provider fit, and what to look for in a behavioral health partner.
If you’re looking to integrate a virtual behavioral health solution into your organization, keep reading to learn what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Key considerations for your telepsychiatry program
While jump-starting a telepsychiatry program might seem intimidating, it’s easier than you might think. Often, an organization’s hesitation comes from not knowing how telepsychiatry will fit into their current systems or workflows. However, this virtual solution has three components that can help deepen understanding.
Virtual care mirrors on-site care: Fortunately, a good virtual care solution reflects on-site patient care in nearly every way — regardless of setting.
Integration is vital: The proper workflows paired with consistent, simple technology can help virtual providers integrate seamlessly into your organization’s care team and systems. At Iris Telehealth, our providers use the same EMR as the on-site staff. This approach reduces disruption in communication between the care team and improves continuity of care for the patient. It also allows the Iris provider to establish and cultivate strong relationships with staff and patients.
Simple and effective technology: Before launching your telepsychiatry program, it’s essential to test out your IT solutions, train staff, and perform dry-runs. Connectivity issues, poor network speeds, and complicated software and hardware often cause disruptions that affect the patient’s experience. That’s where the right partner comes in. For example, at Iris, we help ensure everything is set-up and ready-to-go before appointments begin. The ultimate goal is for the technology to fade into the background during the appointment.
Next, we’ll take a look at the different behavioral health care models that can be delivered via telehealth.
Virtual care services for health systems and hospitals
There are several behavioral health services that can be delivered via telehealth. Here are a few that we make available at Iris Telehealth:
Bridge Care Services: Bridge Care Services provides a clinician-guided, evidence-based navigation assessment that directs patients to the most appropriate next level of care, delivers effective short-term behavioral health care, and facilitates a closed-loop handoff to the optimal longitudinal provider to address the gaps in care across the continuum.
On-Demand Services: On-Demand Services delivers 24/7 behavioral health care to increase throughput in your ED, reduce unnecessary admissions, and limit the revisit rate of behavioral health patients. These services provide access to a multi-disciplinary provider pod that will assess your behavioral health patients and consult with your on-site ED care team to get those patients dispositioned as quickly as possible.
Scheduled Services: This solution delivers access to consistent, high-quality providers dedicated to your health system (including individual hospitals and outpatient clinics) on a consistent schedule each week – ensuring a predictable coverage model for organizations. Investing in Scheduled Services means you have a dedicated provider who integrates with your team and allows your on-site providers to focus on what they do best and work at the top of their licenses.
If you’d like to learn more about these services, download our whitepaper exclusively for hospitals and health systems.
The patient’s perspective on virtual behavioral health care
Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, and virtual care has become the norm. Studies show that 59% of people would use telehealth for mental healthcare, and by 2029 behavioral health visits are expected to increase by 50%.
Most people are comfortable video chatting to keep in touch with friends and family members. Telemedicine isn’t different from these virtual interactions many of us have daily. But, a successful telehealth interaction involves a provider who excels at connecting with people over the video, a unique skill that not everyone has.
It can also be beneficial to ask your patients what they want directly and use this information to make a decision. Ultimately, the benefits for patients are significant. Telepsychiatry allows patients to get timely, high-quality psychiatric care facilitated by providers who are experts in assessing patient needs. Psychiatric care in a virtual environment helps patients get treated as quickly as possible as opposed to waiting for long hours in a busy waiting room.
How to find the right provider
It’s important to note that not every excellent doctor is a fantastic telehealth provider. In fact, it takes a unique and robust skillset to make a superb telepsychiatry provider. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right provider fit.
First, telepsychiatrists should be flexible. If something changes in their day to day, they should be comfortable going with the flow. Next, personability is essential for fostering patient comfort and connecting in a virtual environment. Given the nature of remote work, it’s also vital that they’re good communicators. Most importantly, they need to fit into your culture and have a shared belief in your values and mission.
Second, finding the right provider match can be challenging. That’s why it’s essential to work with a partner who can connect you with the right match. At Iris, we have a rigorous vetting process that ensures all our behavioral health providers are top quality and have a track record of providing exceptional care. We call this process, The Iris Match, and it’s our promise to you that we will ensure your Iris provider will meet your organization’s needs, culture, and values.
To learn more about this approach, download our guide, “How to Find the Best Telemental Health Provider for Your Organization.”
The key to identifying the right behavioral health partner
So, what does the right behavioral health partner look like? There are four key components you should check off your list before making a decision to partner with a virtual behavioral health solution.
- Do they facilitate provider matching solutions? At Iris, we draw from a large pool of highly vetted clinicians to help ensure organizations are connected to the provider type they need – whether that’s an MD, PMHNP, LCSW, or LPC.
- Are they Joint Commission accredited? Since 2019, Iris Telehealth has been certified for the Joint Commission for behavioral health. This accreditation speaks to our commitment to quality care.
- Do they offer quality support beyond connecting you to providers? For example, licensing and credentialing, day-to-day support, and help executing behavioral health strategies.
- Are they medical group led? We were founded by a child psychiatrist and have an expert group of medical leadership that offers guidance and recommendations to ensure your organization uses your telehealth solution to your best advantage.
If you can check all these off your list, there’s a good chance you’ve found a strategic behavioral health partner who can help you secure long-term success for your organization and patients.
Is telepsychiatry right for you?
Telepsychiatry can work in almost any setting and can be a great solution to improving patient care all while creating more efficient systems for your organization. At Iris Telehealth we make implementing a telepsychiatry solution a seamless process for health systems. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.