Telepsychiatry Companies

Why Dr. Heather Geis Chose to Provide Virtual Behavioral Health Care

Why Dr. Heather Geis Chose to Provide Virtual Behavioral Health Care

Iris clinicians are at the heart of what makes our organization such a special place to work. That’s why we’re turning the spotlight on the amazing work they’re doing every day. This month, we’re sitting down to talk with Dr. Heather Geis.

Q. How did you find Iris and decide you wanted to be an Iris provider?

A. I wanted to do telehealth even before the pandemic. I’m in my sixties, I hadn’t tried it and thought it would be fun. I googled telehealth and Iris kept coming up as one of the best places to work, I contacted them, had an interview, and they hired me. It was very exciting!

Q. How does telehealth compare to in-person care?

A. Honestly, it’s very similar. The work is the same. I like that I get to work in a place that has never had a child and adolescent psychiatrist before. I work at a community service board in rural Virginia, and they see a lot of children and adolescent patients, but they’ve never had a child psychiatrist.

Being in telehealth allows a specialist like me to work in a place that’s never had access to that kind of care before.

Q. How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A. All the virtual meetings and things that happened during the pandemic really helped us because people are a lot more comfortable with telehealth as a care delivery model.

When I first started, people weren’t as comfortable with it, especially in rural places. However, with the pandemic, a lot of people did virtual school, so telehealth became pretty normal. The more widespread use of virtual platforms has really helped.

In a way it’s been a benefit to be virtual because people don’t have to worry about running into me at Walmart. There’s more confidentiality to some degree.

I also feel like I’m more present with the patients because this is all I’m doing, and people are not calling me on the phone or stopping by the office to chat. I’m just with them. In a way, they get more of my attention being virtual.

Q. As a healthcare professional, how do you manage work-life balance?

A. I am kind of at the last third of my career. So, I chose to be a contract worker because I work less than I used to. It’s a lot easier to have work-life balance when you’re not full-time. That’s nice and Iris has that option available.

Another great thing is that you can choose how many hours you want to work. At the CSB, they don’t require me to do on-call. They say, “If you’re available and we need you, that’s great.” They have called me a few times and luckily, I’ve been available, but they don’t expect a call.

Basically, I work my hours and I’m done. That of course helps with work life balance, too.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A. Getting to work with people that would not ordinarily have access to my specialty is the most rewarding thing, but always helping patients is very rewarding in and of itself.

Q. What do you love about working with Iris?

A. Iris staff are very supportive. If I need anything, they’re always immediately available. When I first started, it seemed like I was calling tech support all the time, but I haven’t called them in a long time, so I guess I’ve figured it out.

But when you’re new and not figuring things out, they’re very helpful and available. They are a great team of people and they’re very supportive and engaging.

Q. Why do you think telehealth is important to the future of mental healthcare?

A. With the pandemic, I think we’re all more germ conscious too, so that’s certainly a benefit to the patient and the provider.

With telehealth, patients can connect with specialists they would ordinarily not be able to access.

We also don’t have to spend time commuting; we get to spend more time with patients. It affords a good work-life balance due to the flexibility of hours where you’re able to work in different time zones.

I’m an early bird, so I chose to work in Eastern time zone. I’m a Central time zone person, but Iris worked with me, and we were able to match my diurnal preferences with work sites. That’s been great for me because I get done early and start early. That’s a wonderful thing from a provider perspective.

Q. What advice would you give someone new to telehealth?

A. There are a lot of ways to do it, for me, I signed up with a company. They deal with the contracts; they deal with the front-end issues. They spend a lot of time working with the clinics and making sure they’re providing the equipment and personnel needed, and they’re able to troubleshoot.

I really haven’t had any problems with my clinic, but I know, they’ve always told me, “If you have a trouble, we can help be an advocate for your needs.” I think working with a company is definitely very wise.

At Iris, we believe our providers should be respected, valued, and applauded for the work they do, and we couldn’t be more proud to say, “thank you” to our very own Dr. Geis. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today.

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