Providing a virtual behavioral health solution for your patients can offer many benefits to your organization. Telehealth provides access to many treatment techniques that translate well to a virtual platform and treat a broad range of speciality mental health conditions.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of telehealth for specific populations, how providers build rapport virtually, and different ways providers are using telehealth to increase engagement during appointments.
The unique benefits of telemental health
Because of telehealth’s expansive reach into communities with few providers, patients have access to specialty treatment and care they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.
Let’s take a look at three other unique benefits of telehealth for mental health care:
- Condition-specific treatment: Providing a virtual option for care delivery, either in your clinic or from a patient’s home, can open up care to people who may experience nervousness traveling, patients with agoraphobia, or someone with general anxiety about meeting a new person in a new place. Allowing someone to take their appointment from a place where they’re familiar can help them feel more comfortable and assist in establishing rapport. Telehealth can also help patients with trauma feel more comfortable processing and disclosing information.
- Increased privacy for patients: Meeting in a private location can help patients feel more comfortable and less worried about running into people they know in the waiting room or their providers in the community. This great sense of privacy can help patients feel more comfortable and allow them to engage and feel more at ease during their sessions.
- Traditional psychotherapy capabilities: For the traditional therapeutic encounters that happen within the office setting, telehealth providers can conduct them just as well via telepsychiatry as they would in person. Delivering remote care isn’t a barrier to establishing therapeutic rapport, providing medication management, or providing traditional psychotherapies.
When considering implementing a virtual behavioral health solution, it’s important to note that the typical diagnoses that translate well to telehealth are with patients with who you can easily engage individually or as a family system.
How to build rapport through telepsychiatry
Building rapport with patients is essential to implementing a virtual behavioral health solution. Even though society has primarily adjusted to telehealth during the pandemic, it’s important not to assume that patients have engaged with telehealth before or prefer telehealth over in-person.
To help determine how a patient feels about telehealth, you can check in with them, ask how they feel, and learn whether or not telehealth is their first choice. You can also ask them what they think are the negatives and positives about the platform. Sometimes, the patient might decide they want to do in-person care. Regardless of their preference, it’s essential to be open and honest to understand how the patient feels.
Another critical piece of building rapport is educating the patient on the parameters of a virtual appointment. For example, even though the appointment is not being held in an office setting, the patient should still be in a secure place and communicate their location to the provider. Some patients may have questions about where the provider is located and whether or not their door is shut. Transparency is important, especially since the patient and provider can’t see each other’s space.
How providers facilitate specialty care remotely
Telehealth is the great connector between people and the specialty care they need. This platform opens up the pool of providers with specialty expertise patients otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. Without specialty care, patients may experience delayed and ineffective treatment, the risk of worsening symptoms, and the need for a higher level of care. Accessing specialty care remotely allows patients to get the right care and make the treatment gains they need to feel better.
Therapists leverage telehealth creatively to help engage patients and provide their needed treatment. For example, some providers working with children will draw with the patient, play games, and have show and tells. Therapists will also provide homework and worksheets.
One of our LCSWs here at Iris Telehealth, Nicole Bradbury, spoke about her experience providing care virtually to her patients:
“There are a lot of different benefits to telepsychiatry. For one, I love finding new ways to engage with the kids. I’ve found websites where I can interact with them virtually, like “Let’s play Uno and talk about feelings!” It’s fun to find new ways to explore engaging with the children, especially the younger ones.”
Where Iris Telehealth fits in
Our team of psychiatrists, PMHNPs, and LCSWs, work with your care team to provide holistic, specialty care to your population. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help reach more people in your community with specialty care, contact us today.