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 can make a decision, there are several components you should consider, like patient comfort, how to ensure the right provider fit, and the relationship between technology and software.
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.
Telehealth mirrors on-site care: Fortunately, good telepsychiatry reflects on-site patient care in nearly every way — regardless of setting. The “tele” part is just a tool that connects your patients with a high-quality behavioral health provider in a virtual environment.
Integration is vital: The proper workflows paired with consistent, simple technology can help telepsychiatrists 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. The ultimate goal is for the technology to fade into the background during the appointment.
The patient’s perspective on telepsychiatry
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 telemedicine 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.
Finding the right provider
It’s important to note that not every excellent doctor is a fantastic telepsychiatry provider. We’ve learned it takes a unique and robust skillset to make a superb telepsychiatry provider. There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right provider fit.
First, telepsychiatrists should maintain flexibility. 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.
Finding the right provider match can be challenging. That’s why it’s essential to be open and honest about your patient population, your clinical expectations, and the characteristics you are looking for in a provider. When a provider is passionate about the type of work they will be doing, it’s a “win-win-win” for the provider, for you, and your patients.
How telepsychiatry technology and software work
Technology should remove barriers to care and increase accessibility. At the health system level, questions tend to arise about the equipment needed for telepsychiatry consultations, such as where it will be located and who will be responsible for coordinating the machine.
However, when partnering with a technology-agnostic vendor like Iris Telehealth, your telepsychiatry solution can integrate seamlessly into your current systems and equipment you’re already using. At Iris, we also ensure all staff are trained on best practices for using technology and are comfortable with it as well.
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.