Telepsychiatry Companies

Category: Blog

In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, alongside the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association, declared a national emergency in children’s mental health – citing the stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing fight for racial justice as key factors in the worsening mental health crisis.

These challenges have affected children across the board, and those in rural areas have been particularly affected. Given this population’s proximity to mental health resources and other unique barriers like transportation and economic hardship, getting behavioral health support isn’t always possible.

Thankfully, with the right solutions at play, healthcare organizations can help the youth in their communities access the right help at the right time – regardless of geographical barriers.

Common mental health challenges rural youth face

One of the first steps to helping rural youth is understanding their experiences. Rural communities face increased economic hardships and have fewer community resources available. Whether it’s medical or behavioral health care, there is a lack of options for individuals in rural communities.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these barriers rural youth may face when seeking mental health care:

Less access to care: When fewer services are available, there’s a lack of opportunities for children to get help. If a child needs specialty care, their family may need to travel long distances. A commute to see a specialist may require time away from work and school – which may not be feasible for ongoing care.

Substance use challenges: Rural areas have experienced an uptick in substance use rates for youth and adults alike. When it comes to addressing these challenges in kids, it can be difficult to find the correct treatment. Additionally, caregivers who struggle with substance use may be unable to provide consistent care and support.

Mental health stigma: Stigma can prove even more challenging for those living in rural communities with limited access to mental health resources. This population deals with unique barriers regarding anonymity in their communities, health literacy, pervasive provider shortages, transportation challenges, and religious barriers.

While these challenges might feel daunting, there are several best practices that can help create increased opportunities for mental health care.

The role of telepsychiatry in rural America

Gaining access to specialty providers can prove challenging for healthcare organizations in rural America. However, that’s what makes telepsychiatry an essential best practice for reaching youth in these communities. Telepsychiatry connects organizations with a large pool of providers from all over the U.S. to help ensure they have the right behavioral health specialist to meet the needs of their communities. At Iris Telehealth, we call this process provider matching.

This approach helps organizations find the perfect provider fit to address their communities’ challenges effectively. Additionally, telepsychiatry allows children to connect to high-quality, specialty providers from the privacy of their homes. Virtual access to behavioral health care also enables this population to get help and maintain their anonymity at a community level.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) calls telepsychiatry’s reach into rural and remote areas one of the best successes of telemedicine. The APA also cites that satisfaction has been superior for patients, families, and providers.

How healthcare organizations can support their communities

Reaching this community with high-quality care starts with implementing some best practices. Here are a few ideas your organization may consider to help support the mental health needs of your community:

Create a centralized location for care: When it comes to virtual care, ensuring patients have internet access is essential. For healthcare organizations in rural communities, that might look like creating a centralized place where patients can go for their appointments. In most clinical settings, a medical assistant will bring the patient into the room to ensure everything is ready to go for the appointment. This provider will confirm an internet connection and introduce the patient to the doctor.

Set expectations: When using telepsychiatry, setting expectations upfront is essential. This process may start with educating the patients about what they can expect during a telepsychiatry visit. For patients accessing their telehealth appointment from home, providers should let them know that all the rules for a confidential in-person health appointment apply to telepsychiatry. Providers can also check in with the patients and families about how they’re feeling about telehealth, ask what’s working, and let them know that it might take time to adjust to the platform.

Educate the community: Healthcare organizations can reach more kids by communicating with schools about what behavioral health support is available. This approach also connects healthcare organizations with school counselors who can make referrals.

Provide family support: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a prolonged trauma. Research from previous disasters and traumas show that a child’s ability to handle stress is directly related to their caregiver’s ability to handle anxiety. So, making sure that the child’s caregiver has support is a central component in helping a child’s mental health.

Amid a behavioral health crisis, there’s always a need for education around anxiety related to going back to school, the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, and anything else that may occur in the community. Thankfully, there are always outreach opportunities to educate families, provide support, and increase awareness of available community resources.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

At Iris, we partner with communities in need of mental health resources. By providing rural populations access to specialty behavioral health providers from around the country, we can help support their needs. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how telepsychiatry can support your community.

Category: Blog

Finding the right grant for your organization takes time, but if you know where to look, this process can be much easier. In our grant funding blog series, we’ve provided tips and insights to help you and your organization through the grant process.

In our last two posts, we talked about how to identify your telehealth grant funding needs and provided an overview of the four main types of grant funding sources. Now that you’re equipped with the correct information, your organization can begin a more informed search for telehealth grant funding opportunities.

Many resources exist, both paid and no-cost, to help you uncover potential funding sources and refine your search for the best alignment between grant program goals and your project. The following 17 points illustrate key grantor search resources available to help your organization find telehealth grant funding.

1. Search for grantors using paid grantor search services

Today, certain software platforms offer paid access to their sources for grantor searches. These platforms, such as Pivot or Foundation Directory Online, perform much of the data collection, sorting, and analysis you need to identify potential grant funding sources.

While these services save considerable time and legwork, they often come with a hefty price tag — especially if multiple providers will be using the platform. Determine whether you’re going to be looking for grants frequently and consistently enough to justify the expenses for those paid services.

2. Hire professional grant writers

Hiring a professional grant writer could mean an investment in finding more and better-aligned funding sources. Grant writers perform these tasks regularly and may have access to and experience with multiple platforms for grantor searches. Particularly for larger or more complex telehealth projects, it may be more cost-effective to hire a professional grant writer with the experience and skills to handle the grantor search for you.

3. Contact your local library

Some libraries have access to grant-seeking sources and other information that they make available to the community. These sources may guide you to funding opportunities and data sources for your applications.

4. Reach out to local community foundations

Local community foundations may be able to offer insight into corporate resources and regional funding opportunities through foundations, either their own or others in your area. They may also have limited knowledge or access to programs at the state and federal levels. Not all communities have community foundations, but they can be a valuable source of information and connections if yours does.

5. Research funding sources of peers and competitors

Through online searches of your peers and competitors, you can take a closer look at who has supported them financially to give you ideas about potential funding sources. Make contacts within your networks and gather and share information about what other providers have done to see what was and wasn’t successful.

6. Network with large, regional companies operating in your area

If you’re considering corporate sources of funding, one easy way to begin your search is by researching large, regional companies operating in your area. These companies may offer their own funding programs or partner with a foundation to award funds to healthcare projects.

7. Research active philanthropists in your area

Active philanthropists who are living in or are invested in your community or region could be valuable grant funding sources. Other local foundations and philanthropic organizations may list these individuals as donors on their websites.

8. Look at peer organizations’ listservs

Many peer organizations have listservs, and you can read through their updates about their telehealth projects. If their project seems to align with your interests and goals, join these listservs and start conversations to find out how and where they source funding for projects. This research can provide information on potential funding trends in the more focused areas you want to approach.

9. Check out resources and opportunities from local and national professional organizations

Both local and national professional organizations often host webinars and provide other information about funding opportunities. Some of these organizations may even help you connect with other individuals or organizations that have implemented or funded comparable projects.

10. Research state agencies relevant to your telehealth needs and patient populations

State-level agencies, particularly those in the realm of healthcare, telehealth, and the patient populations you serve, can offer support to your grantor search. Contact officials at those agencies and monitor their websites regularly for information, changes, and past featured projects. This research can give you insight into how you could design your project to meet what those grantors want.

11. Regularly check Grants.gov for federal grant funding opportunities

When searching for grant funding opportunities at the federal level, Grants.gov offers a wealth of information, but it requires you to allocate adequate time to utilize it most effectively. Be strategic in your searches by registering the agencies and type of project you are interested in, then narrow down your search to find the best grantor matches for your telehealth project.

12. Utilize no-cost sources of information relevant to your needs

For some areas, other no-cost grant sources of information, like the Rural Health Information Hub, regularly post grant funding opportunities–some quarterly, monthly, or even weekly.

13. Browse college and university databases

Colleges and universities may have access to some of these for-fee grantor databases that you might be able to use, particularly if you have a professional connection to the institution.

14. Research regional grantmaking centers

You can search online for regional grantmaking centers or grantmakers organizations for information about funding opportunities in your area.

15. Prepare a common grant application

If you decide to pursue and prepare a common grant application, you can obtain a list of grantmaking organizations that use the common grant application to expand your search further.

16. Contact financial institutions in your area

Financial institutions in your region may have departments that handle private foundation funds or donor-advised funds, which could be a source of funding and grantor information.

17. Speak with vendors of the telehealth equipment and software applications you need

Research and contact vendors of the types of telehealth equipment and software applications you’ll be using. They may offer information about other projects implemented in the past and how those projects received funding.

Most of these resources are free and accessible to any provider, but you need to allocate adequate time to utilize these often comprehensive resources. With persistence and consistent effort, you can find an array of potential grant-funding opportunities that align with your telehealth project goals.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

At Iris, we’ve always got our eyes open for new grant opportunities and share what we find in our monthly newsletter the Iris Messenger. If you’d like to sign up, you can check out this page for more information.

Marian Chambers is a Grants Consultant at Professional Grant Writers, a full-service grant writing agency that works with nonprofit organizations to identify and apply for grants to fund their programs.

Category: Blog

Expanding your team with remote providers benefits your on-site clinicians, patients, and organization overall. Whether you’ve already got a hybrid of on-site and remote providers working for your organization or you’re adding new virtual clinicians to your team, there are several tips and tricks that can help you along the way.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits, common challenges, and recommendations for providers and organizations to help effectively integrate telepsychiatry into your care team.

What does a truly integrated remote and on-site team look like?

When your clinician team is technically, culturally, and logistically well-integrated, your remote providers will feel and operate like an extension of your on-site team.

So, what does true integration look like exactly? Culturally, this integration can include participating in care team meetings, joining clinical medical leadership discussions, invitations to conferences, social or outside-of-work team events, and even fun gatherings like happy hours. This inclusion can help providers feel more comfortable by allowing them to spend time with other clinicians on their team.

The technical and logistical aspects of provider integration are also crucial in building long-term partnerships. That’s what makes a meet and greet so essential. This process can help ensure a good match between the providers and clinic staff before bringing them onboard.

The benefits of effectively incorporating telepsychiatry into your organization

When remote care teams are integrated and work together smoothly, on-site providers, organizations, and patients can all benefit.

Here’s how:

Collaboration of care: The initial patient evaluation, typically an hour long, is the most commonly missed by patients. With remote providers to lean on, your patients will never miss out on care because they can’t make it to an on-site appointment.

Addressing specialty mental health needs: The main advantage of having remote behavioral health providers on your clinical team is managing a broader spectrum of behavioral health care needs. Having on-site and remote providers gives patients more options and opportunities to get the care they need. Your organization can learn how to seamlessly address mental health care in your space through collaboration and coordination of care. Telepsychiatry helps elevate collaboration even further by making specialty providers with specific mental health expertise readily available for organizations, on-site providers, and patients.

Increase in patient comfort: Many remote providers appreciate seeing a patient in their home environment as it can inform care and make the patient feel more comfortable. For patients with anxiety who aren’t comfortable leaving their houses, telepsychiatry can be a particularly beneficial option. In fact, 85.52% of patients report that telemedicine has made getting the care they need easier.

Solving common integration challenges

So, what happens if a remote provider doesn’t appear to be a good match with the organization? It’s natural that there might be initial challenges when bringing new providers onto your care team. At Iris Telehealth, we help with common integrations and ongoing relationship challenges by facilitating and guiding the communication between provider and organization.

Our teams are invested when the clinician is introduced to an organization and stay engaged throughout a provider’s service. By advocating and mediating for both organizations and providers, we ensure the relationship, and ultimately patient care, remain high-quality.

Additionally, we get ahead of potential challenges by ensuring the clinical match is right the first time. We call this process “provider matching.” Provider matching can be a great way to combat these common integration challenges. Furthermore, working with an organization that delivers proven provider matching services is invaluable to seamless integration. However, if things aren’t going smoothly logistically or culturally, we’re still there to help. We’re looking for long-term matches that will meet your needs and match you with the perfect provider for your team.

Communication tips and recommendations

Naturally, as teams integrate, remote and on-site providers might experience growing pains and need to settle into new workflows. However, knowing a few tips and tricks can set your organization up for success. Here are four ways to embrace remote providers and help them feel like a part of the team:

  1. Clear communication: Communication is key for providers working in a remote setting. By figuring out how you’ll communicate with your remote colleague, you can provide the best care for your patients. Consider whether you’ll communicate through the EMR or video or audio-only calls. Additionally, knowing the frequency of communication can also help set expectations between providers.
  2. Be upfront with expectations: Be sure to communicate expectations upfront. That way, everyone will know their role when the time comes to provide the best care possible for their patients. The best way to ensure seamless integration is to prepare the operational conversations about bringing in a new provider. This operational conversation can be in the form of an interview or a meet and greet, where the provider and clinical team can discuss practice philosophies, scheduling preferences, and other essential logistics. Additionally, you can discuss what types of patients your organization sees, how patients are managed, avenues of care, and anything else you want your remote provider to be aware of. If you’re an organization new to telepsychiatry and unsure what to ask, that’s okay! At Iris, we facilitate these conversations and work to ensure the clinical match is a good fit.
  3. Regular meetings: You can facilitate team collaboration and integrated patient care by blocking time for meetings that include your remote provider. For example, some providers have meetings with their on-site teams where they can bounce ideas off each other and connect. Offering ways to collaborate outside of seeing patients is an excellent way for integrated teams to provide excellent care while getting to know each other.
  4. Don’t treat remote providers as contractors: Remote and on-site providers have the same goals and work on the same team. Remote providers tend to be happier and stay longer when they can connect with other providers and feel included in their organization.

How Iris Can Help

At Iris, we match you with providers who can integrate seamlessly into your care team technically, culturally, and logistically. With nearly a decade of experience, we share our best practices and expertise. Iris can help you fill gaps in your behavioral health services, whether it’s therapy services or various in-patient or outpatient psychiatric care. One of our core values is people over all else and our providers and partners are no exception. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.

Category: Blog

When starting your virtual behavioral health career, you’ve likely got many questions – from the differences between on-site and virtual environments to learning about using an organization’s EMR remotely to ensuring you work with a population you love. Whatever your question may be, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re an LCSW, psychiatrist, or a PMHNP, we have the answers for everything you need to know about getting your remote career started.

1. What skills do organizations value in a remote provider?

Healthcare organizations want to work with providers who share a passion for patient care. That means it’s essential to let your passion shine through during the interview process. Additionally, if you’re working with an organization that provides job matching services, knowing your preferences around patient population, age, or setting, can help you find the job of your dreams.

And, when a long-term clinical match is made, it creates a great connection between the provider and the clinic. Most importantly, the patient benefits from having that longitudinal care.

At Iris Telehealth, we’ve also found that organizations look for telebehavioral health providers who believe in patient-centered care, have a team mindset, are self-motivated, can ask for help, and hold independence as a key part of their success.

2. How are emergency situations handled in remote environments?

Knowing what to do in an emergent situation is crucial, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Iris, we get to know an organization’s approach to crisis management, understand their workflows, and communicate them to our providers. That way, the provider is never siloed and always has someone to reach out to for support. Additionally, at Iris, there’s no expectation for after-hours calls or crisis management outside your schedule.

In contrast with direct-to-consumer platforms, telehealth providers work within the policies of their location. There’s a brick-and-mortar location where teammates are on the ground to provide help and collaborate. Additionally, at Iris, we provide access to our clinical operations managers. That way, if you can’t remember what to do or who to contact, there’s always someone to help you through.

3. What type of admin work is required of remote providers?

If you prefer providing patient care over all the paperwork that comes with it, you’re not alone. That’s why it’s a good idea to know what type of administrative work you can expect as a virtual behavioral health provider.

Let’s start with patient billing. The great thing about working with a telehealth provider like Iris is that our partner healthcare organization handles all patient billing. That way, you have one less thing on your plate. At Iris, we also help ensure each clinical setting has a telepsychiatry champion who helps remote providers schedule, check in patients, and help complete administrative tasks.

Another thing providers often have questions about is how they can use an organization’s EMR remotely. At Iris, we’re technology neutral and integrate within an organization’s platform. Together, we do training and ensure our providers have the best support possible.

Most importantly, providers shouldn’t be bogged down with administrative tasks or technical snags. That’s why, at Iris, we ensure they have the support they need to focus on doing what they’re passionate about – facilitating high-quality patient care.

4. What does the day-to-day look like for a remote provider?

There are many moving parts that go into a provider’s day and knowing what to expect in a remote career is essential. Additionally, what’s expected from clinic to clinic can vary greatly. Some clinics may have built-in administrative time, but there’s no guarantee on a clinic’s processes and policies. Whether you want this built-in time for admin tasks or not, Iris matches you with the right opportunity that will give you the work experience you’re looking for. When making the right match, we look through your eyes and consider what you want. Whether that’s 30-minutes of protected admin time or none, we make what you want happen.

Providers often wonder what happens if there’s a no-show in a remote environment and how that might affect compensation. The great thing about working with an organization like Iris is that regardless of if a patient shows if it’s scheduled time, you will be paid. Additionally, because we’re a value-based organization, we ensure visits aren’t cut short due to monetary incentives. We provide stable salaries you can build your life around.

Each provider’s day might vary depending on whether they’re an LCSW, psychiatrist, or PMHNP. For example, PMHNPs may need a collaborating physician in certain states. At Iris, we help coordinate these logistics and ensure the provider has a collaborating physician available. Often, this provider also works for Iris at the same site.

5. What type of populations can a provider work with remotely?

The great thing about working for an organization that provides job matching services is that it makes it easier for you to work with a population you love, from wherever you live. You’ve spent a lot of time and dedication figuring out the specific population you love working with. That’s why finding an employer who listens to you, understands the type of work you want to do, and ultimately matches you with the right opportunity is essential. Whether you want to work with patients who speak a certain language or you want to with children or adults, whatever your specialization, at Iris, we ensure you’re set up to work with the population you love.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

Wherever you are in your career search, Iris is here to extend a helping hand. If you’re looking for more information about a career at Iris, check out this recording of our recent career fair. You can also learn more about the provider experience firsthand by taking a look at our Clinician Corner series featuring some of our incredible clinicians. If you’d like to chat with someone at Iris, contact us today.

Category: Blog

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. Chris Heh.

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

A: Six years ago, I was making a job transition and was looking for something that would provide me with flexibility. I saw Iris’s website, which was user-friendly, creative, and well designed. I called them up, and we met. They said I would be a good fit for the team. They were good people, and I decided to start working with them.

Q. What does a typical day as an Iris Telehealth provider look like for you?

A: It’s quite variable, and it all depends on what type of work you’re doing. I’ve been with Iris for about six years, and I’ve had the ability to work in various areas of psychiatry. For example, I worked for an inpatient eating disorder unit for children and adolescents, for a geriatric inpatient psychiatric service, and now I do consultation-liaison work. It’s hard to say what a typical day looks like because each setting looks different.

I’ve worked in community mental health on an outpatient basis, too. In general, in the inpatient or consultation-liaisons service, you move from one patient to another. With telepsychiatry, you don’t have to walk up and down the hallways, the patients usually just pop up on your screen, which makes it very convenient. We have lots of support. For example, our clinical managers make the appointments and make the phone calls so we can see the patients. There’s a great deal of ease in seeing patients. A typical day is what you’d expect if you are in person, in some sense, except that we do it via televideo visits.

Q. What do you love about being a telepsychiatry provider?

A: It’s not just what I love about being a provider, but what I love about working with Iris. One of the things I love is that I’m able to move through different facets of psychiatry, everything from the eating disorders unit for children and adolescents to inpatient psychiatry to community mental health. The breadth of psychiatry is just amazing. I can see an assortment of patients in very different settings. For someone who likes variety like me, that’s great.

In general psychiatry, they always say time is priceless. I don’t have to spend 15-minutes grooming, getting my lab coat on, taking 30-minutes to drive to the hospital, or maybe taking five minutes walking around the unit trying to locate each patient. You save a lot of time, and you don’t realize it. If you think about it, it’s maybe two hours a day. You multiply that two hours times five days a week, that’s 10 hours, and I can use those 10 hours to do something more fun.

Q. How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: It’s really important to make time and adjust your approach to effectively build that connection when you’re a telehealth provider. And that’s especially important with kids. If you talk to children in a monotone voice, if you’re expressionless, they’re going to turn you off just like a bad tv show. You have to put your game face on, you have to be animated, you have to change the pitch of your voice, and the cadence of your speech, so it’s a little different. Since you’re not in person you have to be more animated. That’s how I try to keep my patients engaged.

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

A: It’s actually easier in some sense doing telepsychiatry. I have more free time. I think work-life balance depends on the person. I tend to be a workaholic. So when Iris says they have extra consults available, I usually take a look. However, when other Iris clinicians are too busy or have to take time off, Iris respects that, too.

I think work-life balance comes down to the person and what they want. It’s always a struggle, and you never think you got it right. It’s an infinite balancing act.

I was doing doubles, and the people at Iris were compassionate and asked, “Is that what you really want to do?” They worry about you getting burned out, and sometimes you need to be reminded. And I appreciate that. They always say, “Hey, thanks for working so hard, but are you working too hard?” That tells you they care about you.

Q. What are your biggest learnings from your time at Iris?

A: One of the nice things is I’ve been able to see patients in California, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and so on. You think psychiatry is the same wherever you go, but it’s not. You have regional differences, county differences, and neighborhood differences. Your standard in one neighborhood may be different in another city or state. It’s interesting just to see the commitment laws throughout the United States are different, too. That makes it interesting and challenging.

Seeing how other people in other parts of the country treat their patients versus in your hometown is fascinating. Some of that you can carry over to other settings and say, “Hey, look, we do it this way over here. Have you thought about that?” Some people sometimes stay in a position for 30 years in the same old palace. Well, telepsychiatry is different. I can practice in five different states, in five different ways, and I find that very enriching.

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

A: There are many aspects. One is the patients themselves. There are some areas where psychiatry is so desolate, and they just don’t have enough psychiatric care. And, when you meet some patients, and you get feedback from them, they say, “Hey, thanks for spending time.” I find it very satisfying because Iris reaches out to these communities where psychiatric care is minimal and unavailable.

Iris has done a very good job of picking the right people for the right positions. When you’re working with other people of the same caliber and excellence, that makes your job so enjoyable. When you’ve got colleagues you can depend on and colleagues who also have a high standard of care, they make you better. I think having good people to work with and people who are just as competent, if not more competent, sharpens you and allows you to grow.

Q. What do you love about working with Iris?

A: There are so many aspects. Number one, reimbursement is fair, and that’s important. There are always ways to increase your income. I think the flexibility in the scheduling is very good, and there are various shifts you can take. The other thing I like is that they have very responsive management. You have people who look at you as a person, and not someone who is just a simple cog in the wheel who can be replaced. They appreciate you, and you can sense and feel that. You’re not just treated like a number. I’ve had a nomadic life in psychiatry. I’ve moved around a lot. I’ve been with Iris for six years. For me, to stick with anybody for six years is unusual. So, they must be doing something right.

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

A: First and foremost, telepsychiatry is important because there are just certain areas in the United States where psychiatric care is desolate. For remote areas, it is essential because patients aren’t going to drive 20 miles to see a psychiatry provider. I think it is really important in those areas where there’s a lack of care. They need psychiatric providers. The other thing is to get a psychiatrist at midnight to come into your emergency room – who will do that? There aren’t too many. If there are, they don’t last too long.

Telepsychiatry is here to say, and it’s simply because there aren’t enough physicians or psychiatrists. From a treatment standpoint, it provides care instantaneously, when you need it, like in the middle of the night when there’s no one around. I’m glad it’s there because you need professionals when no one else is around during those critical times. Telepsychiatry has been growing and growing, and I don’t see it going away.

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 Chris Heh. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today.

Category: Blog

Every healthcare organization has to strike a balance between ease of use and security when it comes to their EMR. And, if an organization is utilizing a virtual solution, like telepsychiatry, there are several special considerations to keep in mind.

Thankfully, there are best practices your organization can implement to ensure your teams are set up for success.

Top five best practices for new EMR users

Whether you’re bringing a remote provider onto your team for the first time or you’re expanding your virtual services, here’s what you can do to help providers get comfortable with your EMR.

  1. Assign a dedicated super user: Training in the EMR is essential and assigning a dedicated super user gives a provider someone to lean on for immediate support. If a super user isn’t available, allowing the provider to shadow a peer who offers advice and shares templates can also be beneficial.
  2. Provide on-going training: EMRs vary in complexity and can dictate how much training is required. However, having a training plan in place can help create a better experience for patients and providers. Additionally, ongoing refresh training and e-learning opportunities can be helpful and fit nicely into a provider’s schedule.
  3. Conduct a dry run: For healthcare organizations, it’s essential to consider what processes you have built around the EMR and how much your providers know about these processes before they begin using the tool. Conducting a dry run and creating practice spaces for providers can help drive success in the EMR. At Iris Telehealth, our providers go through an entire test run and learn who they should call and what they should do in an emergent situation.
  4. Prioritize the provider experience: Pajama charting is the work in the EMR that happens after clinic hours. As an organization, it’s important to keep track of the amount of pajama charting a provider conducts. If they’re having trouble completing their charting during the day, it’s an excellent opportunity to reach out to them and better understand their experience.
  5. Provide templates: For telepsychiatry, making templates available is crucial. For example, having templates available for psychiatric evaluations can be greatly beneficial. While general templates can be helpful, they’ll likely need to be tweaked for behavioral health usage.

The key to best-in-class EMR support

Supporting your remote providers is essential to their experience of your EMR. When choosing a telehealth partner, one important thing to consider is whether or not they facilitate IT support for their providers.

At Iris, we’re technology-neutral and can seamlessly integrate into your technology. We also facilitate 24/7 IT support to our providers. Because we’re accustomed to the wide variety of equipment and EMRs on the market, we’re well-versed in the types of problems that might occur. Whether it’s an issue with the VPN or the password, we help reduce the frustration that comes along with technology.

Along with provider support, it’s also important to ensure patients have technical support available. For example, if a patient can’t log into their telehealth appointment, it can create another barrier that keeps them from care. That’s why having an effective consumer workflow is crucial.

Considerations for clinicians using the EMR remotely

While there’s much to consider on the organizational side, having an idea of what to expect on the provider side can also be beneficial for clinicians getting acquainted with a new EMR.

    • Get familiar with badge laws: For healthcare workers, becoming familiar with state-by-state badge laws can be greatly beneficial. For instance, some states require clinicians to wear a badge that displays their name and credentials. These states may also require providers to show their badge to the patient and have it displayed throughout the call.
    • Ensure patient consent: Another thing providers should keep in mind when interacting with patients virtually is ensuring consent. Consent laws can vary by state. Some states may require different language around consent or consent to be visible to the patient within the telehealth application.
    • Communication is key: Generally, the same rules for in-person care apply to virtual care as well. However, one key difference is eye contact. While in-person, the patient may intuitively understand that the provider is looking at their computer to take notes, this action may not be clear virtually. That’s why it’s vital for providers to be explicit and let the patient know they’re looking away to take notes. Training and templates can also help providers become better at charting and improve patient connection.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

With the right processes in place, your telehealth provider should seamlessly integrate onto your team, into your workflows, and successfully navigate your EMR. And for them, using the EMR should be no different than if they were physically present on-site. If you’re interested in integrating a telepsychiatry solution into your organization, Iris can help provide the support you need to get started. Contact us today to learn more!

Category: Blog

Mental health is essential to a person’s overall health and well-being. While there’s no denying that physical health can help a person feel great, someone’s mind can affect their body just as drastically. For example, research shows that neglecting mental health can lead to serious physical health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Increasing access to behavioral health care can help diagnose and treat more patients and also help fight the stigma attached to having a mental health diagnosis. Introducing and expanding behavioral health services into your CHC, FQHC, hospital, or health system is an excellent first step towards eliminating stigma in your community and helping more people get the holistic care they need.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can educate your organization on mental healthcare and implement your first behavioral health program.

Educating your organization on mental healthcare

Whether your healthcare organization is planning to start your behavioral health program from scratch or considering expanding your services, your work can significantly impact the community. However, starting that process may feel overwhelming. Remember, a lot of the critical work around building a successful, patient-first behavioral health program starts with your care team.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your team about mental health care:

  1. Education: Effectively preparing your providers to support patients with mental health conditions is all about education. Your organization can educate your staff on different behavioral health conditions and common diagnoses they might encounter and empower them to have better conversations surrounding mental health.
  2. Person-first language: One important skill is to teach person-first language (for example, you would say a person diagnosed with schizophrenia, not a schizophrenic). It may seem like a minor change, but switching how you categorize or classify your patients can help them feel more empowered to have real, vulnerable conversations about their situation.
  3. Emotional impact: Your care team should recognize that treating people with mental health diagnoses can have a unique emotional impact on providers. Your organization should emphasize the importance of your providers not becoming desensitized to patients’ challenges. You can help your providers prevent burnout by opening up communication channels with them and implementing support systems at the organizational level. It’s essential for your organization to not become desensitized to patients challenges nor take them home with them at the end of the day.

Implementing your first behavioral health program

Once you’ve thought about bringing mental health care into your organization and believe it’s a good fit for your patient populations, now comes the process of implementing behavioral health services into your workflow.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you move forward:

  • Your patients will likely be discussing very personal and vulnerable topics when they come in for a behavioral health appointment. That means housing your behavioral health services in a space that allows them to feel comfortable opening up is essential. Your space should be physically and mentally safe for patients and have procedures in place in the event that a patient expresses an intent to harm themselves or others or becomes combative.
  • You’ll also need to be ready to make a change in how you schedule providers. Mental health care cannot run on a traditional medicine model in which a patient waits for half an hour to meet with a doctor for a short conversation. You should plan to schedule ample time for the important conversations between providers and their patients.
  • If your new program is your organization’s first experience with psychiatry, you’ll want to make sure you hire nurses, medical assistants, and doctors who have experience working in behavioral healthcare. By utilizing a solution like telepsychiatry, you’ll gain access to the best providers from all around the country.
  • Check out some of these resources to learn more about the benefits of behavioral health integration from an administrative point of view and directly from nurses in the field.

Integrating holistic care into your organization’s culture

For providers at the frontline of the country’s mental health crisis, it’s important that they feel empowered to seek help if they need it as well. Integrating holistic care into your organization also means ensuring your providers feel supported in their mental health. Often, as behavioral healthcare professionals, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they’re not susceptible to mental health conditions in the way that others are, but that’s not true. Anyone and everyone can struggle with their mental health, and there’s no shame in reaching out for a helping hand.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

One of the most challenging parts of starting a behavioral health program can be finding high-quality providers that seamlessly fit into your organization. That’s where telepsychiatry comes in. At Iris Telehealth, we connect organizations with high-quality, specialty providers from all over the country. Our large geographic pool allows us to connect organizations with the behavioral health support they need to help their community thrive. To learn more about how Iris Telehealth can help you implement a telepsychiatry program, contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with the information you need to get started.

Category: Blog

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 Dale McQueeney.

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

A: I worked at a residential treatment center that had grown and changed a lot in the three years I was there. I loved my job, and it’s my passion to work with those who have substance use disorders, but I was getting a little burned out due to the hours. I always thought the only way I would leave my job would be to work in telehealth. I saw an ad for Iris, did a little research, reached out, and started the interview process. I learned a lot about Iris throughout the interviews, which were rigorous but fantastic. I was impressed with their commitment to finding the best providers and was honored when they wanted to hire me.

At the time, I ended up getting a promotion at the rehab center and decided to stay there. However, many months later, more shifts at the organization led me to decide I was finally ready to make a change. It was important to me to continue working with those with substance use disorders, and Iris was diligent about finding the right placement for me where I could continue doing that work. A really unique part of Iris’s approach is the job matching process. Iris holds a meet and greet with the Clinical Operations Manager, the provider, and the clinic. Everyone meets and discovers whether or not they’ll be a good fit. I couldn’t be happier with where they placed me.

Q. What does a typical day as an Iris Telehealth provider look like for you?

A: I live in rural Maine and work with a Community Mental Health Center in rural eastern Oregon. My primary focus is treating those with dual diagnoses and prescribing medication for addiction treatment (MAT), such as Suboxone (buprenorphine) and Vivitrol. I now serve as the Associate Medical Director for Substance Use Disorders at my clinic. My day is primarily filled with follow-up appointments and some new evaluations, usually for MAT. On Wednesdays, we have team meetings for the Crisis, SUD, Medical, and Adult teams.

Q. What do you love about being a telepsychiatry provider?

A: I love everything about being a telepsychiatry provider! We’re working to eliminate barriers to quality care, and it’s great that I can provide care from the other side of the country. In terms of my passion, I can reach those with opioid use disorders and potentially save lives with Suboxone or Buprenorphine. On a personal note, my commute is across the hallway in my house, much quicker than the hour and 15-minutes each way I used to drive. This lack of a commute allows me more time for “life.” I can relax and exercise in the morning instead of driving. In between patients, I can put in a load of laundry. The pace of life while working remotely is much slower and calmer, even on the busiest days.

Q. How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: The same way that I fostered connections with patients when I was seeing them in person — by getting to know them as people and asking about their lives, not just their medications. In my notes, I document the details so I can check in on what is going on with their families, pets, or events in their lives. Knowing about those details helps make for a richer connection, regardless of how far apart we are physically.

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

A: Work-life balance was the major reason I decided to start working for Iris. Maintaining a work-life balance makes me a better provider and more available to my patients when I am working. No one wants a burned-out provider. I’ve experienced burnout in the past, so I make sure to take time for family and self-care, including exercise. Even though it can sometimes be a temptation, I try hard not to check my email when I’m not at work. If it’s urgent, I know my Medical Assistant will contact me. Boundaries are so important, and Iris and the clinic I’m placed with really respect them.

Q. What are your biggest learnings from your time at Iris?

A: My biggest learning from my time with Iris is that working from home is not isolating. I decided to work remotely before the pandemic, and the week I started my new placement, all the employees at the organization went remote as well. During my transition to work from home, I never felt isolated – and that’s in large part due to the massive support from Iris. IT and my Clinical Operations Manager are always there for me if I need them. HR and payroll are very responsive. I’ve also developed close relationships with the staff at my clinic and have an incredible Medical Assistant. Even though I am an Iris employee, I really feel a part of the team at the clinic and am truly embedded there.

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

A: The most rewarding part is seeing patients reduce use or achieve and maintain abstinence from substances. They literally change and save their own lives by doing so. Sometimes it’s sporadic, but I’ve seen some dramatic changes. Getting to be a small part of that is such a gift and incredibly rewarding.

Q. What do you love about working with Iris?

A: I love everything about working with Iris! Iris’s culture and values make it a really special place to work. The employees truly live the values, and everyone is so nice! From the very beginning, my Clinical Hiring Manager was so helpful and patient in answering all my questions. Then, there was real care taken to make a good match between my clinic and me, and my Clinical Operations Manager helped ensure that our connection was smooth and strong. The credentialing team was fantastic and helped me get licensed in Oregon. I just gave them my information and signature, and they made it happen! The support from IT, HR, and payroll is wonderful, and Iris’s Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer are excellent resources if needed. I couldn’t ask for better support!

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

A: I think telepsychiatry is the future of mental health care because it improves access and reduces barriers. We were already heading in this direction, but the pandemic has increased acceptance and comfortability with this care delivery method. From my own experience, I know that patients really like it. I’ve worked both in-person and remotely, and I see no difference between these forms of delivery. I don’t treat my patients differently whether I am sitting in the same room with them or not, but because of the technology, I can be in rural Maine treating a patient in rural Oregon or wherever there’s a need. It’s amazing!

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 Dale McQueeney. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today.

Category: Blog

While the job market for behavioral health providers is full of opportunities, finding the perfect fit can be challenging. That’s why working with an organization that delivers job matching services is invaluable for you and your patients. So, what is job matching?

The job matching process looks at what a provider wants in a job (think culture, values, schedule) and matches it with what an organization is looking for in a mental health professional (think specialty and experience). This match making process helps both parties attain what they want and need, increase provider satisfaction, and ensure quality of care for organizations and their patients.

How to determine the perfect fit

As a provider, knowing your non-negotiables can help you make the most of the job matching process and help determine what exactly you’re looking for in your next role.

Here are just a few things to consider when reflecting on your non-negotiables and wants as a provider:

  1. Flexibility: As a provider, greater flexibility with your time can help prevent burnout. Many providers want a better work-life balance so they can spend more time with their families and engage in self-care.
  2. Schedule: By knowing how many hours and what type of clinic you want, you can get the most out of your next career move. For example, some providers may only want to work 20-hours a week or may want to work in a particular type of clinic. An organization with your best interest in mind will work with you to find your perfect schedule and preferred work setting.
  3. Location and time zone: Some providers will prefer to work in a specific time zone depending on where they live. If you have strong preferences around when you want to work, a telehealth organization that helps match that preference might be the best fit for you.
  4. Patient population: By having an idea of what type of patient population you want to work with, you can get closer to your dream job. Do your patients speak another language? Do you want to work with children? Adults? Whatever your specialization, job matching ensures you’re set up to work with the population you love.

What the job matching process looks like

Having an idea of what the job matching process looks like can help you prepare for all the necessary steps throughout the experience. One thing to keep in mind during the process is what organizations are looking for in a new team member.

To narrow in on the right team member, organizations will review the provider’s experience, learn about their personality, see if they’re a good cultural fit, and check references. Additionally, organizations are interested in learning if the provider has experience with their patient population and a background in treating the common diagnoses they see at their organization.

At Iris Telehealth, we help ensure that both the organization and the provider get their needs met. To make those happily-ever-after matches possible, we take a thorough approach to the interview process. After the internal interview process, we also set up meet and greets between the provider and the organization to ensure cultural fit. During this time, the organization gets to know your practice philosophies, scheduling preferences, and other specifics you would like to discuss. If there’s a match, then next steps with placement and licensing begin.

The timeline for job matching varies depending on things like regulatory barriers. For example, in certain states, nurse practitioners might need more supervision than other types of behavioral health providers. Regardless of what regulatory barriers you encounter in the job matching process, working with an organization that helps with licensing and credentialing can help move things along smoothly.

Benefits of job matching

Providers, organizations, and patients can all benefit from a proper match. These benefits could include things like improved morale and less provider burnout. On the organizational side, a perfect match looks like better wait times, more patient engagement, and improved team satisfaction. For patients facing a national mental health crisis, having a happy provider who meets their specific needs is crucial.

Some benefits of working with Iris during your job matching process include:

  1. Assistance with licensing and credentialing: Wherever you are placed, Iris has you covered by handling the paperwork. We create an environment where you can focus on providing the best care possible while we take care of the forms and stressful documents.
  2. Ensuring everyone is on the same page: With a supportive supervisor, you have someone that checks in with you, ensuring you’re comfortable with your new organization and care team. At Iris, we’ve got your back and help ensure a safe and supportive practice environment for providers.
  3. Support through tricky situations: At Iris, we help ensure that your integration into the care team goes smoothly. We also help you navigate any tricky conversations that may arise.
  4. Clinical support: When you join our team, you get the support you need. Whether you need an advocate to answer questions or help from our top-notch IT team, there will always be someone here to guide you.

The Iris Match

At Iris, job matching is one of the most important parts of our mission. We are committed to helping our providers match with an organization that considers both the provider’s needs and the organization’s. Check out our behavioral health providers guide to help learn what job matching looks like in action and how it can set you up for long-term success at the organization of your dreams.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about Iris and our approach to forever matches.

Category: Blog

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry declared a mental health emergency for youth. Now more than ever, providers and organizations need to learn how to accommodate the mental health needs of LGBTQIA+ youth.

More than 80% of LGBTQIA+ youth reported that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

For many LGBTQIA youth, access to mental health care is difficult due to:

  • Inadequate mental health care
  • Lack of access to mental health services and workers
  • Fear of discussing mental health concerns, their identity being misunderstood, or not being taken seriously
  • Concerns with obtaining parent/caregiver permission to receive care
  • Lack of available transportation options
  • Insufficient information about LGBTQIA+ mental health needs for providers.

Along with these barriers, there is also hesitancy to receive care exacerbated by a history of discrimination and lack of acceptance – which make it harder for LGBTQIA+ youth to receive the care and support they need. For example, as of 2022, 60% of LGBTQIA+ youth report they have wanted to receive mental health care but did not. This statistic represents nearly 3 in 5 transgender and non-binary youth as well as 3 in 5 cisgender youth.

Fortunately, there are steps your organization and your provider can take to ensure LGBTQIA+ youth can feel safe and heard.

Best practices for providing effective care to LGBTQIA+ youth

Here are some best practices for effectively supporting and communicating with your LGBTQIA patients:

  1. Be mindful of pronouns and names: You can limit the burden for LGBTQIA+ youth by asking directly about what pronouns they use and what their preferred name is. It’s important to correct your staff members if they incorrectly address the patient to foster inclusion and affirm the patient’s identity.
  2. Avoid assumptions: In addition to using the patients’ preferred pronouns and names, your care team should utilize inclusive language. By avoiding assumptions about a patient’s identity, it is easier for patients to reveal information at their own pace about their romantic or sexual relationships. Instead of assuming, ask questions like “Do you have a partner?”
  3. Honor patient confidentiality: Sometimes LGBTQIA+ youth don’t come from supportive households. It is essential to build rapport with your young patients and reiterate that your conversations during your appointments are confidential — unless they are thinking about harming themselves or someone else.
  4. Continue to educate yourself and your providers on LGBTQIA+ matters: Many resources are available for providers and organizations to learn more about LGBTQIA+ mental health care and youth. By paying attention to current issues and statistics around LGBTQIA+ youth, you can further change the type of care you provide by accommodating those needs.

Telehealth specific best practices for providing effective care to LGBTQIA+ youth

There are multiple ways to make your appointments with LGBTQIA+ youth inclusive and accommodating using telehealth.

  1. Take steps to ensure patient privacy above all else: Some patients might not feel comfortable speaking openly during their telehealth appointment if they don’t feel like they have adequate privacy in their home (or any other location where they might be receiving virtual care). By asking in the beginning if they are in a space that is private where they are willing to be open and honest with you, you can increase the quality of care. If they don’t have a space that’s safe and private, suggest other ways to communicate with your patient: taking a walk outside and continuing your telehealth appointment there, utilizing text for information that they are too worried to say out loud, or even come up with codewords or aliases for certain things and people to maintain privacy.
  2. Offer services in their area: Some patients might not have access to LGBTQIA-friendly providers or physicians. Offer to help them find one in their own area if they need to see an in-person provider for prescriptions, counseling and therapy, or HIV/AIDs management and treatment. LGBTQIA+ youth need to know they have options and access to care that is LGBTQIA-friendly.

How organizations help provide effective care to LGBTQIA+ youth

Creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ patients is essential. Many LGBTQIA+ people avoid seeking care as a result of bad experiences with providers or because they are discouraged by a lack of services that cater to the LGBTQIA+ community.

To combat that hesitation, make it clear that your organization is LGBTQIA+ friendly by clearly stating it on your websites and other branded materials. Normalizing and validating their experiences can increase the likelihood of seeking out care. Many LGBTQIA+ people look for clues whether an organization is LGBTQIA+ friendly by taking into account how they are greeted by staff and whether non-discrimination policies are posted on their websites or any other public-facing material.

Another way to make your practice more inclusive as an organization is by employing gender-inclusive medical forms. By giving your patients an opportunity to indicate their sex, gender, and sexuality, your organization can increase the quality of care your providers can deliver.

As an organization, make LGBTQIA+ specific training accessible to your providers and your care team. Sometimes, providers will have their own biases about gender and sexual orientation that they might bring to work without even realizing. Training providers on specific LGBTQIA+ topics and making sure they are asking for consent before providing care can erase discomfort in a healthcare setting.

Resources and education opportunities about LGBTQIA+ youth for providers

Many resources are available for providers and organizations to learn more about LGBTQIA+ mental health care for children and adolescents. By paying attention to current issues and statistics around LGBTQIA+ youth, you can further improve the care you provide by accommodating those needs. Here are a few resources that can help you provide quality care to LGBTQIA+ youth:

  • The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is a national organization that specializes in suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQIA+ youth. They are constantly working to provide updated research and statistics on LGBTQIA+ youth and the challenges they’re facing. In the past, they’ve conducted a recurring National Survey on LGBTQIA+ mental health that gives context to the state of mental health in the U.S. for LGBTQIA+ youth.
  • The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a non-profit organization that focuses on topics related to youth and adolescent psychiatric care. Their gender and sexuality resource page has evidence-based guidelines for providers, including various tips to improve care with LGBTQIA+ youth during the pandemic, clinical guidelines and training for providers, and LGBTQIA+ specific topics frequently encountered while treating LGBTQIA+ youth.
  • The National LGBT Health Education Center: The National LGBT Health Education Center is part of The Fenway Institute. Their mission is to ensure access to quality and culturally competent mental health and medical care for the LGBTQIA+ community. They have a guide for providers on how to provide inclusive services for the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition, they have various continuing medical education (CME) and continuing education units (CEU) opportunities like webinars, learning modules, and training credits for providers looking to further their understanding of how to provide quality care for LGBTQIA+ communities.

How telehealth can help

LGBTQIA+ youth have many barriers at an individual level, provider level, and systemic level. By utilizing telepsychiatry, LGBTQIA+ can overcome some of these barriers.

Between 2.9 million to 3.8 million LGBTQIA+ people live in rural areas. Telehealth can make mental health care more accessible to LGBTQIA+ patients, especially in rural and underserved areas where there might not be access to non-discriminatory mental health care. By having the option of telehealth available, LGBTQIA+ youth can see their providers from the comfort of their own homes.

And remember, harassment in a medical setting is common –especially in areas where LGBTQIA+ populations face discrimination and larger barriers to access. For patients who’ve been a victim of harassment in the medical setting in the past, having providers who are trained to build rapport and provide comfort can dispel distrust that the LGBTQIA+ community has against some providers.

Where Iris fits in

At Iris Telehealth, we work hard to match providers with the populations they have the most experience and interest in, LGBTQIA+ included. It’s important to us that everyone has access to mental health services no matter where they live and what they identify as. Contact us today to implement an effective telepsychiatry program to help LGBTQIA+ youth at your organization.

Category: Blog

The demand for telehealth continues to grow, and if you’re an organization utilizing a virtual behavioral health solution like telepsychiatry, you understand the value of this platform first-hand. By the numbers, 96% of behavioral health providers think telehealth has proven its worth as a therapeutic tool during the pandemic, and 59% of patients say they would use telehealth for mental healthcare.

It’s clear patients and providers alike are reaping the benefits of telehealth. However, it can be difficult to determine when you should expand your telepsychiatry program.

In our experience at Iris Telehealth, we’ve seen more than 90% of our partnerships grow within the first year. But, how do you know if expansion is the right choice for your organization? Keep reading to learn the 10 signs it’s time to expand your telepsychiatry program.

1. You have an extensive waiting list for behavioral health patients

Telepsychiatry helps organizations improve patient wait times. However, if your practice continues to grow, or you’re a new CCBHC working to meet an influx of patient needs, you may experience waitlists as you did before investing in telepsychiatry. Our partners have found that the simplest solution in this situation is to continue expanding their already-existing telepsychiatry department rather than hiring an on-site psychiatrist, which could take ample time to find the right match.

At Iris, we help organizations through this process, using an approach we call “The Iris Match.” The Iris Match is our promise to our partners that we will ensure their provider will meet their organization’s needs, culture, and values. By the end of our match process, our partner organizations have a provider who will not only fill their care gaps, but who their care team and patients love.

2. Your existing psychiatrists are overwhelmed by their patient load

Part of the reason you may have started a telepsychiatry program was to lighten the workload for your on-site providers, but due to high demand, you may need more help. This growing pain might mean it’s time to increase the hours of operation for your telepsychiatry program so your on-site staff can function without feeling overwhelmed. Many partners have found that telepsychiatry works as an excellent supplementary staffing model when used correctly.

3. Your care team and patients are responding well to telepsychiatry, and outcomes are improving

If your organization was hesitant about telepsychiatry at first – you’re not alone. Upfront, we often hear organizations say they’re concerned their patients won’t like the platform. However, after working with Iris, this concern is quickly eliminated. Technology is now a significant part of our daily lives, and patients are typically comfortable using telehealth for mental health care.

Additionally, telepsychiatry providers integrate well into organizations and create valuable relationships with the on-site teams and patients. Due to this extra help and seamless integration, the desire for virtual care typically increases. If this experience resonates with your organization, growing your telepsychiatry program can help lead to happier patients and better outcomes.

4. You need a specialized provider

If you started your telepsychiatry program with a more general provider to help cover basic patient needs, you may soon realize you need specialty care as well. Whether that’s finding a Spanish-speaking provider, a child psychiatrist, or even a geriatric psychiatrist – telepsychiatry has you covered. Thankfully, this platform has an expansive reach and can connect organizations with providers from all over the country.

Additionally, at Iris, our rigorous vetting process ensures that all our behavioral health providers are top quality and have a track record of providing exceptional care. We also have several provider types to help meet an organization’s needs. Whether you’re looking to work with a psychiatrist, PMHNP, or an LCSW, we can help recommend and match you with the right provider for your needs.

5. Your number of referrals for new patients is increasing

When an organization implements a telepsychiatry program, they’re able to meet the mental health needs of more patients. While this success is positive, it can increase referrals and make it difficult to meet demand. If you’re familiar with this challenge, it might be an excellent time to consider expanding your telepsychiatry department.

6. You are acquiring more patient rooms or space in your building

Are you adding to your current facility or gaining access to more space to help with your growing patient population? If this is the case, you are in a great position to plan and begin expanding your telepsychiatry department. That way, once you gain access to your new space, you are ready to fill it.

7. Your no-show rate is decreasing

Telepsychiatry increases patient access to high-quality care. Because of this increased access and convenience, you may see no-show rates decrease. With lower no-show rates, your providers may find themselves with increasingly full schedules. To meet demand and help your providers continue providing excellent care, you might consider increasing your telepsychiatry program’s hours.

8. You realize your telepsychiatry provider is essential to your team

At Iris, we only extend a formal offer to 6% of clinical candidates who apply to work with us. That means we know we’re getting the best of the best. One of the reasons our partnerships have such longevity is the quality of care our providers facilitate. While organizations may have some initial concerns about provider integration, they are pleasantly surprised to find that their telepsychiatry provider quickly becomes an essential part of the team.

If this is the case for you, maybe it’s time to consider expanding your provider’s hours from 16 to 30 or even exploring bringing on another telepsychiatry provider.

9. You still can’t find the right on-site psychiatrist

If you’re struggling to find an on-site provider for your organization, you’re not alone. Due to the provider shortage, finding help is a typical challenge. This inability to find providers is one of the primary reasons telepsychiatry has grown in popularity. If you’ve experienced great success with your telepsychiatry provider, it could be a good time to invest in bringing another psychiatrist, LCSW or PMHNP onto the team.

10. You realize that telepsychiatry is a sustainable, long-term solution

Telepsychiatry is the future of mental healthcare and serves as a sustainable, long-term solution for your organization. If you’re ready to make telepsychiatry your one-stop shop for all things mental healthcare, consider expanding your program.

What does it look like to expand your telepsychiatry program?

Growing your telepsychiatry solution doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, most organizations have taken care of the hard part by making the initial investment, figuring out technology, creating workflows, and training providers. That said, growing your telepsychiatry program can be as simple as adding a couple days of coverage to your program or reaching out to your telepsychiatry organization to see if they can help you find another provider. Regardless of your needs, expanding a current telepsychiatry program can set you and your organization up for success.

About Iris Telehealth

At Iris, we work with you to create a long-term placement that facilitates continuity of care for your patients and care team. Our rigorous vetting process ensures that all our behavioral health providers are top quality and have a track record of providing exceptional care to communities like yours.

If you would like to talk more about how we can help your organization secure a long-term provider fit, contact us today.

Category: Blog

As a mental health professional, you understand that working somewhere that aligns with your values is essential. The mental health field comes with unique frustrations that can make doing what you love challenging. That’s why working somewhere with a supportive environment is critical for providers. You need work-life balance, flexible hours, and time for self-care to recharge. However, finding an organization that prioritizes these things isn’t always easy.

That’s where telehealth comes in. Telehealth sets the stage for meaningful work in a low-stress setting that helps you take care of what’s most important – you. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of virtual care, how to find a people-focused telehealth organization that meets your values, and the importance of job matching.

The benefits of practicing behavioral health virtually

According to a report by Medscape, 24% of mental health professionals have changed their work settings to try and alleviate burnout. For some providers, this change may mean switching to telehealth. Practicing mental health virtually comes with many benefits, including:

  • Flexibility: Flexibility is an essential piece of what makes virtual care a game-changer for providers. Not only does it allow them to work from wherever they want in the country, but it also frees up their schedules. With less time spent commuting, they can dedicate more time to their hobbies, spend more time with their friends and families, and prioritize self-care.
  • Team-based approach: Even though telehealth providers aren’t on-site, they can still experience the same benefits of a team-based approach. For example, on-site teams can assist patients and help reassure them about the telehealth process. Some providers even have meetings with their on-site teams where they can bounce ideas off each other and connect.
  • Low-stress environments: As a provider dealing with potentially high-stress settings, finding a low-stress job may feel impossible. With the computer screen as a barrier, telehealth can help providers manage compassion fatigue. Providers have an opportunity to step away after a stressful moment when they need to, take a breath, and ultimately experience a better work-life balance.

Among these benefits, our providers at Iris Telehealth have cited more control over hours and better work-life balance as reasons they chose to be telepsychiatry providers. Additionally, they said communication, staff connection, and clinical support were why they decided to work with Iris in particular.

When it comes to finding a job you love, you shouldn’t settle, and telehealth makes getting what you want and need possible.

Finding the right organizational fit

The value of working with an organization you connect with is essential. That said, things like culture, convenience, and getting licensed in particular states are all important things to keep in mind when looking for an organization that’s aligned with your values.

  • Culture: At Iris, one of our core values is putting people over all else, and our providers are no exception. That’s why we provide top-notch support to all our clinicians. Whether that means making tech support available 24/7 or providing them with an advocate by their side to help navigate tricky situations, we ensure they’re set up to succeed and have the space to focus on their patients.
  • Convenience: We value making things simple and easy for our providers. That means taking care of things like licensing and all the paperwork that comes with it. We take pride in creating a low-stress environment that lets our clinicians do what they love knowing we’ve got the rest covered.
  • Job matching: This component is a central tool to help ensure providers are matched with an organization that’s aligned with their values. At Iris, we call this process “The Iris Match.” We use this process to help providers narrow in on the perfect fit by identifying the criteria that makes up their ideal job. These criteria might include their preferred working schedule or values. Organizations have standards they’re looking to fulfill, too. At Iris, we take the criteria of both parties and fit the two that work best together. You can learn more about this process in our behavioral health provider’s guide to job matching.

When a provider finds the right fit, it can help provide stability for their patients and the organizations they serve.

Telehealth connects you with the right patient populations for you

As a behavioral health provider, you likely spent a lot of time and dedication trying to figure out the specific population you love and value working with. However, you may live somewhere else and are unable to connect with these patients. Telehealth solves this problem. One of the many great things about providing behavioral health virtually is that you can work from wherever you want and still work with the population you love.

Not only is this access great for you as a provider, but it’s also indispensable for patients who need and value your help. Telepsychiatry provides an extensive reach and offers a more significant opportunity to help more people. Especially those in communities you feel connected to. That’s why, we highly value providing licensing and credentialing services and matching providers with their preferred population. By simplifying a typically tricky process, providers can live where they want while still getting to work with their population and a patient can work with a provider who can best meet their specialty needs.

Whether you’re trying to find a way to work with your preferred population or looking for the flexibility that allows you to have more energy to live a life you love, telehealth can set the stage for a work environment that aligns with your values.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

At Iris, we believe telepsychiatry is the future of mental healthcare. If you’d like to learn more about our services or you’d like to learn how you can find a job that aligns with your values, contact us today.