One of the biggest concerns people have about implementing telepsychiatry is: Will my patients like it?
It’s an understandable concern and a natural thought process. With any new change, there are obstacles and challenges to overcome. If you care about your patients as much as we care about ours, you want the best for them. For many, telepsychiatry seems like a great solution, but one of the biggest reasons they don’t move forward with it is concern about how patients will respond to it.
In 2018, Iris Telehealth performed more than 200,000 patient telepsychiatry visits. We partner with dozens of healthcare organizations around the United States to help bring telepsychiatry to their patients. The statistics regarding patient interest in and satisfaction with telemedicine speak for themselves:
- 74 percent of patients say they are open to a virtual visit.
- 19 percent of patients have already conducted a virtual encounter.
- Over 95 percent of our patients are satisfied with our telepsychiatry.
What Holds Patients Back from Virtual Healthcare
When you ask, “Will my patients like telepsychiatry?” what you’re really asking is, “Will they be afraid of it?”
At the end of the day, fear is what really makes people opposed to change. It’s only natural that something people aren’t familiar with might cause them to be afraid to try it. Admittedly, sometimes people are wary of telepsychiatry because they don’t understand how it works. Fear of the unknown can play a big role in whether or not patients are comfortable with telepsychiatry.
When Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean, people actually feared he would fall off the edge of the earth. Studies show that more than 70 percent of startups fail, which is why some people fear taking entrepreneurial strides. Even being afraid of the dark can correlate to fearing the unknown. This kind of uncertainty is common among many people, particularly those who might struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety.
But the truth is, the fear of telepsychiatry is easy to overcome.
Consider how often you use technology. You’re probably reading this on your phone or your laptop, and when you’re done, you might watch a movie on Netflix or Facetime a family member. In the past decade, technology has rapidly become a part of everything we do, and we have learned that it’s not always something to fear. In fact, many would argue it enriches our lives by allowing us to consume more information, connect with people far away from us, and have more access to… well, everything at the touch of our fingers.
Rest assured, we’ve worked with dozens of healthcare organizations whose patients love telepsychiatry. If any of your patients don’t love telepsych, it will be a small number who simply don’t understand how it works. However, there are easy ways to help them see the value in it rather than seeing the fear.
How to Get Patients on Board with Telepsych
Our partners have several tried and true methods to help patients overcome any fear associated with telepsychiatry and become as excited about it as you are:
Create Educational Materials
Some healthcare organizations find it valuable to have educational materials in their waiting rooms to teach patients about telepsychiatry. This can be as simple as trifold brochures or one-pagers not only explaining how it works, but also why it’s a great option.
Have a Conversation With Them About What it is
If you’re speaking with a patient who is hesitant about telepsychiatry, ask them how often they use FaceTime or Skype. If they’ve used either of these before, take the time to remind them that telepsychiatry is just like video-chatting with a friend or family member. The only difference is that their doctor is on the other end.
Let Other Patients Convince Them
If you decide to create educational materials for your waiting room, include patient testimonials about how they loved telepsychiatry. Instead of hearing about it from you, they can learn about it from other people who have walked in their shoes before.
Introduce them to their telepsychiatrist
When healthcare organizations partner with us, we offer to create an introductory piece of marketing material about their doctor. This includes a photo of the doctor, as well as an article about their life, how long they’ve been a doctor, and some fun facts about them. This humanizes the process and makes it less scary for any patients who have hesitations.
Your Patients Will Love Telepsych
You might have a handful of patients who won’t love the idea of telepsychiatry at first, but now you know that there are simple methods to remind them it’s not as scary as they might think. Our partners have found that in the end, their patients love using telepsychiatry. In fact, our telepsychiatrists have a 97 percent satisfaction rate!
About Iris Telehealth
Iris Telehealth is a telepsychiatry provider organization made up of the highest quality psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Our mission is to provide underserved communities with access to the best mental health specialists and prescribers. We are owned and operated by doctors who understand what patients need and have earned a reputation for providing outstanding customer service. Iris values building strong professional relationships with our partners and their staff. We are dedicated to understanding your organization’s needs and operational goals because we recognize that your success is critical to our own.
Iris Telehealth has helped countless hospitals and community health organizations across the country add telepsychiatry to their list of services. We believe everyone should have access to compassionate mental health care, and we have made it our mission to find innovative, affordable ways of making this possible!