Telepsychiatry Companies

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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.

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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.

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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 Nicole Bradbury.

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

A: There were a few things that made me decide I wanted to be an Iris provider. First, because of COVID, I realized that I enjoyed working from home. Additionally, I had just moved to San Antonio, and the traffic can get pretty busy during rush hour. Because of that, I was really open to telehealth. I looked through the Iris values and saw that a lot of employee reviews were positive, and people noted things like “lots of support” and “good working environments.” Since working here, I’ve definitely seen that as well.

During the interview process, I worked with Erin Schepman, the Manager of Clinical Talent, and she made everything super nice and relaxing. Then once I was hired, they were able to get me matched to an organization pretty quickly.

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

A: I am a clinician for an agency in Arizona. I primarily work with children and families with mental illness and occasionally some adults. My typical day can vary depending on what I have scheduled. I’m still waiting to get my license, so right now, I help the clinical director with organization and help support the other therapists while we’re waiting to get more kids on my caseload. Which is actually great because it lets me understand their system better.

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

A: There are a lot of different benefits to telepsychiatry. For one, I love finding new ways to engage with the kids. I’ve found websites where I can interact with them virtually, like “Let’s play Uno and talk about feelings!” It’s fun to find new ways to explore engaging with the children, especially the younger ones.

It’s also nice that I can step outside with my dogs after a tough session, take a deep breath, and then come back in and prepare for the next session without seeing patients back to back. I can take five minutes and breathe. I think that’s a big benefit, especially because the burnout rates in the field can be so high. Telepsychiatry offers a lot of opportunities for self-care.

Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: I try to find different ways to connect with my patients. For many kids, it’s just being there, listening. But, for the younger ones or those who don’t want to be in therapy, I try to find games for us to play, or I ask them what they like to do and what they like about it.

I think COVID has helped the kids get a lot more comfortable with technology – they can log into Zoom on their own quickly. But some kids are not ideal for telehealth because some of them are way too active to where they might need in-person or play therapy. However, a lot of the older kids engage really well.

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

A: One of the main things I learned from doing telehealth during COVID was having a space for work. I have a dedicated space for work, so when I step out of the room, away from my computer, I’m just focused on home and life.

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

A: I feel like I’m constantly learning something new. For example, one thing I’ve learned is that in-person care and telehealth offer the same benefits. You can still build the same connection and rapport whether it’s telehealth or in-person. In my own experience, telehealth is just as effective as in-person, and I’m sure studies show that as well.

One thing I’m really appreciative of with Iris is that they placed me in an agency with an amazing supervisor. So, not only is there support from Iris, but there’s support from my supervisor at the agency I’m providing services to. So, it’s a great fit and I feel that I’m valued at both organizations. I’m very appreciative of that.

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

A: One of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing the progress my patients make and looking at how far they’ve come. You get to be with them on their journeys. It’s also great seeing parents learn and grow just as much as the kids.

There was one kid who gave me a small encouragement. They said, “I was really looking forward to this session!” I was like, “Really? You’re looking forward to therapy? Okay!” So sometimes, it’s those small moments that help during the more challenging sessions. It’s a great feeling to be there through the hard times and then see them rejoice when they get through the valleys.

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

A: Telepsychiatry provides certain flexibility and helps reach those who may experience difficulty with access. For example, a lot of kids are busy after school. However, if they get home before their parents, they can hop on Zoom, so their parents don’t have to take off work and drive. Telepsychiatry is super beneficial, and it’s going to help parents and kids with time management.

Q: What do you love about working with Iris?

A: One of the things I love about working with Iris is the support. For example, Drew Sadler, the Clinician Operations Manager, has provided amazing support and the IT team is always ready to help. I also love knowing that there are opportunities to get funds for CEUs, so if there’s a certain training I want, I can take a class. Other pluses are office supplies, getting a desk, and getting a chair. Before I got here, I didn’t have those things, but Iris was there to help me get set up.

I’ve also really appreciated the help Iris has provided with licensing. Licensing has been a hassle and without Iris, I wouldn’t have made it. I don’t know that I would have known all the steps to take or if I would have been as proactive. I would have been lost without their help.

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

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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. Mark Miceli.

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

A: Before I joined Iris, I was working at an inpatient hospital in New Jersey as the medical director of my unit and the interim chairperson of the division of psychiatry. I was doing a lot, and it was really hectic. I wasn’t happy at the job.

I was working with another clinician who told me I should look into Iris, and I ended up applying. I went through the interview process, and it went from there.

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

A: I work for a health system in Minnesota. I’m credentialed at 10 or 12 different hospitals and partial hospital units across that health system and I fill in when they need people. That includes when people are on maternity leave, when organizations are in-between hiring a new psychiatrist, or if someone is taking an extended leave.

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

A: In my previous job, I was in a little office with no windows and a cold air vent blowing on me – it wasn’t comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. With Iris, I love that I’m in my own environment. I love that I can work with people in different geographical areas. My patients are all in Minnesota, so I get to know the culture that exists there. There’s also a separation where I’m not going to run into patients at the grocery store.

Another thing I love is the flexibility to work from different places. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, my family and I were able to rent a beach house in Cape Cod. The beach house had Wi-Fi so that I could work there and my son could enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.

With inpatient, we usually see people early in the day, and then we do documentation. Once I see my patients, I can move my computer anywhere where there’s Wi-Fi. I can take a break to get my son and eat good, hot food at home instead of spending money at a restaurant. I also love that I don’t have to commute 45-minutes or an hour every day. There are a million great things.

Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: In my home office, I have things behind me like a guitar or a yoga mat – having these things related to my interests in the background gives my patients and I something to talk about. Another thing I always do is look into the camera, smile, and try to make eye contact. I try to send them really good, positive energy over the internet.

One helpful thing is having the on-site staff really trust and work with me. They’re a major factor for inpatient care, and their extra help makes a significant difference. They help reassure the patient and let them know what I’m doing and that I care about them. One of the most satisfying parts of the job is the people I work with. The teamwork is fantastic.

I work at four or five places steadily where I rotate through, and I look forward to seeing the people, and they look forward to seeing me. It’s a nice thing, and it doesn’t get old after six years of being in the same place. It stays refreshing and diminishes the grind. When you work in an inpatient unit, you’re going to the same place every day and seeing the same people. The specific job I have with Iris is amazing.

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

A: I don’t have a commute, so I can drop off my son in the morning, go for a walk in Central Park, do my yoga exercises, then work. I can take time to relax, have lunch, then go back to work. I can still get my son in the afternoon. I don’t know if there’s any secret to it. We can travel and have a life outside of being stuck in an apartment.

I have much more time in my life now that I’m a telepsychiatrist. It’s liberating. You’re not trapped in a certain place for that many hours.

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

A: I learned a lot of new technology that I wasn’t really aware of – like Epic. Getting to know Epic was a great skill to learn, and I love that platform. It’s one thing that I didn’t use before. It’s amazing, and I’m so happy that all my jobs are using it now. It’s powerful, and you can easily learn about the patients.

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

A: Working for Iris has been the most rewarding out of all the jobs I’ve worked since my residency. The people I work with are super positive. I always feel supported and proud to work for Iris.

I also love working in Minnesota. I love the culture and the people. I like making connections with the support staff and the patients there. It’s been gratifying. I live in New York City, and I work on the East Coast, so it’s just a different approach to life. I have more connection with my son, and I’m able to be a big part of his life even though I’m working full time. If I were commuting an hour back and forth every day, that would be two fewer hours to be a part of my son’s life.

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

A: It brings psychiatry to places where it’s not easily accessible for people. Especially where I’m working in some of the smaller towns in Minnesota, it’s hard for people to get quality psychiatry. I know that primary care is doing a lot of medication management. However, that’s not their specialty, it’s one more thing to learn, and they may not be comfortable with it.

I think we can bring more quality, specialty care to people who don’t have access. Even though COVID-19 made it unsafe for people to go out, they can still get their medications refilled, have a connection, have someone check in on them, support them, and help treat their conditions.

Even in Minnesota, they were canceling outpatient programs in the bad snow and cold, but we could still see people in their homes. This type of access varies by state, and some states don’t allow the patient to be at their home. However, Minnesota is really progressive. In the partial hospitals where I’m working, people talk from their own homes instead of having to come into a clinic.

Q: What do you love about working with Iris?

A: Iris makes you feel like you’re part of the team, and they really validate you. I’ve worked so many places where you’re just there, and they expect you to be there and do your job, but you don’t get any appreciation.

After four years, Iris gave me a plaque, and I was employee of the month. Ted Bryant, the Senior Manager of Clinical Operations, is amazing. He’s always positive and is always saying, “You’re a great doctor!” It makes a difference to feel like you’re not just a cog in the machine, but you’re a person. I don’t know what it would be like to work for another telehealth company, but I can’t imagine anything better than working for Iris.

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

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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. Jessica Jeffrey.

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

A: I was working for a community mental health clinic, and when the pandemic hit, we quickly moved to telehealth. It was the first time using telehealth for just about all of us, but I found there was a lot I liked about it. Personally, the schedule worked well for my family. It also worked well for many of my patients, whether they were in rural or urban communities.

For patients in urban areas, telehealth made getting care easier because of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth also worked well for patients with conditions that make it difficult to leave their homes and for moms with young children. It was much easier for these patients to see me from their kitchen table and not have to pack up maybe two or three children and bring them to the visit.

So, when I had the opportunity to look for a different type of clinic, I looked for telehealth. I applied to Iris because I happen to know Dr. Milam from my training days. I figured if Dr. Milam was associated with the enterprise, I should probably apply, and I did.

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

A: I am part of a new initiative with a large enterprise partner in Pennsylvania who serves a wide range of patients in rural communities and some urban areas. They wanted Iris’s help managing the large influx of referrals coming into their clinic. Currently, I’m doing telehealth from home, and I’m working with adults. In the future, I’m probably going to start doing some on-call pediatric work on the weekends.

Before starting the clinic, we spent a lot of time coordinating with the partner and discussing potential issues – whether those issues were related to IT or crisis support. We also spent time working on the scheduling and getting to know the support staff. We talked with the LCSWs from Iris about how we would work as a team and how to triage and manage workflow.

Now that it has started, I mostly spend my time seeing new patients, and we have weekly meetings with the care team to assess what’s working, what’s not working, and how we can make this better.

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

A: Well, number one, I love being a psychiatrist. I think it’s the most interesting medical specialty there is. There is a fair amount of medicine even within a psychiatry practice, which surprises some people. However, a lot of patients have multiple medical problems and because of the nature of their psychiatric illness, sometimes their physical health is neglected. So, our patients are often fairly sick and there is a lot of coordination with the other specialties, which I enjoy.

Being a psychiatrist is so interesting because you get to know the people and follow them. And outpatient care is like a new chapter in the book in learning about them. I’m very fortunate to be in this specialty.

I like the flexibility of being in telepsychiatry. It’s a little easier for me with my schedule. It’s also easier for the patients, especially for those who are going to have more trouble with transportation, whether it’s the expense of the ride, or not having a car. It’s not for everybody, but we’re doing a good job of making sure that people who are eligible for this kind of service can utilize it.

Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: When I first have a visit with a patient, the first few things I tell them are, “Here’s what we’re going to do. If you have any problems with the connection, I’m going to call you right away. Don’t despair if there are problems with the communication or telehealth equipment.” Then, we launch into it. If you’re looking at the camera and talking to someone like they’re a human being, pretty soon it feels like a normal conversation.

I do have the advantage of practicing telehealth in what’s already a FaceTime, Zoom sort of environment. Many of my patients are already pretty familiar with having video chats with their friends and families. So, it’s not much of a leap to talk to the doctor.

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

A: At the end of the day, I try very hard to stop being Dr. Jeffrey and start being Jessica. I try very hard to keep those boundaries between work. We all have those moments where we’re thinking about a particular patient who was having a hard time when we’re brushing our teeth. But, when I’m off, I’m with my family and doing things I enjoy doing – and when I’m back at work, I’m in that mode, and that’s what I do. In psychiatry it’s important to have those distinct boundaries because there is so much of a human element to what we do. So, you have to be able to leave it in the office.

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

A: Iris has been a lot of fun so far. The people I’m working with have a good sense of humor. They’ve been refreshingly vocal about maintaining boundaries and work-life balance right out of the gate. When you hear that coming from the administrative side, it’s very appealing for physicians because they don’t feel they’re the only ones advocating for work-life balance. So, I felt really good about that.

Iris has really impressed me in how they think about helping any particular partner. There’s an enormous amount of work that goes into the logistics of putting a new physician in a clinic, and supporting that clinic once it’s up and running. I came to understand that it’s more than just putting someone in the seat and filling a position, it’s the ongoing support with that clinic.

Working for Iris and with this partner is exciting because they’re working with you all along the way, to serve the clinic. This approach is probably quite unique amongst telehealth companies.

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

A: It’s access. Many of the patients we serve, particularly in community mental health and larger university settings, are communities with the most access issues. Telepsychiatry is one of the ways we can bring access to these people — whether it’s meeting people where they are or increasing provider availability. By increasing provider availability, organizations can bring in physicians who may not necessarily be in that area. The expense and time commitment to recruit and bring a physician to a new location is enormous – so if organizations can recruit someone who may not be in that area but is willing to sit down and learn the locality remotely, then you’re improving access to patients.

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

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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 week we’re sitting down to talk with Dr. Isabel Norian.

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

A: At the time, I was working in outpatient psychiatry at a community mental health center. It was a very fulfilling job, but I had a growing family with four kids, a husband, and pets. I was dissatisfied with the back and forth between the clinic and the really late nights. There were times I felt my work-life balance was out of kilter. That’s when I decided I wanted to look into telepsychiatry.

I started researching different telepsychiatry companies and was quickly impressed with Iris. I had other leads, but I found Iris to be the most responsive, welcoming, and clear in its mission. As soon as I had my first meet and greet, I felt like I belonged. I wouldn’t dream of working with any other company than Iris.

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

A: I work at a community mental health center with patients affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities and patients on the autism spectrum. My typical day includes protected time for administrative work, seeing patients, and collaboration with the clinical staff. I often see them for consultations, and they call me if they have a question or a complex issue.

I’m also a big fan of our protected time for staff meetings. While the meetings don’t happen often, they’re a huge part of my job satisfaction. We talk about cases, bounce things off each other, and connect. It’s really therapeutic. Even though I’m not on-site, it gives me a real sense of community and that I’m a part of the clinical team. Our clinic works really well with Iris, so that’s a great feeling. I really lucked out in a lot of ways.

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

A: Everything. I feel like I got my personal and family life back. My family and I love that I’m not commuting. Without all the transitions, I can end work one moment and be out the door to pick up my kids the next. Transitions can be quicker, and for a working mom, that’s priceless.

By working in my home, I can look at the screen and be present for the moments when my patients need me. I’m able to tune out the rest of the world, and that’s serene. It’s almost meditative at times, and it really helps me focus.

I also feel less tethered to a system I am frustrated with, which is my experience in previous jobs. Now, I’m partnered with a company that I chose and who chose me. I pursued them voluntarily and intentionally because they presented synchronous values.

Then, I was matched with a clinic that I feel very fulfilled by and that is very receptive to my needs and aspirations. It is a great balance. I feel more in control than I have in any other work situation. I think that’s empowering.

Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: Creating connections has come naturally. I act as if I’m in the room with the patient, which informs how I ask questions, make eye contact, present myself physically, and relate to them through the screen. My job is to make patients feel comfortable and with a little bit of practice, you quickly forget the screen is there.

However, when my patients seem unsure, I try to provide education and reassurance. I also remind families that they have options. Where I work, we have one or two on-site providers at any given time. I let patients know that if telepsychiatry isn’t something they’re ready for or if it isn’t something that’s a good fit, there are other ways they can be seen.

I’ve found that if I’m providing education, reassurance, and reminding people of their options, it’s enough to dissolve the uncertainty. When people feel they have choices, they typically navigate towards something that works.

Sometimes I’ll check in at the end and ask, “How is this for you?” I’ll ask them, “What might I do differently?” “I welcome you to always tell me what I can do differently to help make this work better.”

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

A: Boundaries are important when you work from home. I’ve learned that I have to close the door, even when I’m home alone, to provide a sense that I’m at the office. When the workday is done, I close the door and say, “Now the office is closed.” I even have a little sign on my door that says, “out of office” and “in a meeting.”

It’s also important to take advantage of the flexibility that telehealth provides. I would recommend using that flexibility to build in movement breaks throughout the day and stretch. Along with this, I’d say do something different or something that you enjoy. For me, it’s dance. When I’m not dancing, I’m not taking care of myself.

I’ve also found it’s helpful to spend time with my family without devices. Since devices have become such a significant part of my work, I’ve found that it’s imperative not to be staring at a screen when I’m not working.

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

A: I’ve learned that it’s not only okay but also good and healthy to delegate. There’s an impulse to fix things when working in broken systems, and I’m a fixer. When systems weren’t working, I tried to fix things independently. Whether it was the computer, EHR, staff support, or the lack of resources for people with mental illness — I would work harder, not smarter, to compensate for breaks in the system. That’s why I was relieved when I found Iris. Iris is so well-resourced and well-prepared to address all the hiccups and challenges that come with the daily work in mental health.

I have many experts to lean on, whether it’s IT, HR, or my clinic liaison. This support gives me the freedom to focus on patient care. I have the structure to succeed, and I’m learning to let experienced, talented, dedicated people help me be more effective.

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

A: I think access to care is one of the biggest mental health crises that exists. It’s not that there aren’t talented providers or a lack of students ready to become psychiatrists — it’s that there’s a disconnect between resources and people who need those resources.

Telepsychiatry provides access to care that is unparalleled. As a telepsychiatrist, you get to see people from their home, group home, or foster care system. So for me, telepsychiatry is the connection, and it is the future of mental healthcare.

At Iris, our providers help create a better world through healthy minds. Thank you, Dr. Norian for helping us further our mission through your incredible work. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today.

Tag Archives: Clinician Corner

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 — starting with our very own Dr. Marialba Romero Medina.

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

A: I found Iris at a time in my life where I needed a change. I wanted to expand my horizons in terms of what I was doing and what I could do considering the circumstances. I’m Latina, and I’m based in Puerto Rico. As the world knows, we went through a natural disaster a couple of years ago, Hurricane Maria. After that time, a lot of services changed here, and a lot of things that doctors could or could not do sort of modified. To put it simply, there were a lot of clinic closures.

I had to adapt to the times. As clinics were closing, I started to consider what I could do to continue working and hopefully continue living close to my family. Telehealth was the option. I did an overall search of companies and found Iris. My friend had already interviewed with the company and was in the process of onboarding. So, I interviewed with Iris, and it seemed like a good opportunity. I took a leap of faith, and here I am three years later.

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

A: I do outpatient child and adolescent psychiatry at a community mental health clinic in Monroe, Michigan, with a population very much far removed from my own experience in terms of Puerto Rico. Even though I trained in Philadelphia, it’s still a sort of cultural adjustment.

A typical day is fairly standard and generally includes following up on patients and doing initial patient appointments. In times of COVID-19 and other things specifically going on in Michigan, there are many difficult circumstances that people have been going through. These challenges can complicate their daily lives and affect their kids.

I provide people with whatever resources we have, but I don’t do it alone, and I’m happy to have a great team. It’s refreshing because we have nurses, which is not something that I used to have in outpatient treatment. And, we have therapists and case managers, so it’s a team effort. I’m one tiny piece in a gigantic clinic offering a bunch of services.

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

A: On the professional side, I love the idea that we can reach more people. And, more recently, things are moving more towards collaborative care. There’s an opportunity for physicians to work together remotely, and telepsychiatry opens up the scope of what we can do with very limited hours.

Personally, it’s been nice. Despite the significant loss and pain brought on by the pandemic, it has allowed me to be home. It’s a change in pace and expectation. Instead of driving an hour and a half to work, I can get up early to exercise, play with my dog, or if it’s sunny, I can look at the sun and prepare myself for the day. Considering the nature of the job and the stories we hear every day, being able to take care of yourself is a plus. Telehealth has allowed me to take better care of myself.

Additionally, if I have a no-show, I can go outside and take a walk or throw a ball with my dog, or even do some laundry. All around, I think it’s an improvement in quality of life.

Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?

A: I keep my video background very interesting, and even though it’s a view into my private life (or my human cave) it shows a little bit of who I am. I think this comforts patients by giving them something to look at, and it shows them that their doctor is also a human being with interests, likes, and random Christmas lights in the background. This atmosphere helps kids engage, ask questions, and opens up the conversation. It helps them feel more at ease, versus my experience at previous clinics where it’s hard to provide a personal touch or give a glimpse of who you are as an individual.

I try to be as genuine as possible with the way I talk and dress — I’m very colorful, and I have found that this helps.

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

A: Working from home can be isolating, which many people have experienced in the last two years. For me, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve made connections with people I studied with in medical school. We communicate, almost obsessively, daily. Connection is a good thing that technology has provided. But, maintaining those connections takes work. You have to make an effort to connect with someone, send them a text, or give them a call.

I’ve also been very lucky that the chart system we use at work is very responsive, and everyone uses the same one. If there’s a question about a patient, we can all talk to each other. I adore my nurses. We understand one another and can acknowledge that some days are harder than others.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

A: I always hope I won’t have a patient long-term and that they can be discharged and go on. Sadly, especially in community settings, things are a little more complicated. Individuals can stay in a community mental health center for many years, so it’s nice to see them grow. It’s nice to see the change in their faces and how they see and interpret things compared to when they were younger. And, hopefully, they change for the better. It’s nice to see them realize that you can overcome even when things seem insurmountable.

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

A: I’ve learned that there are positive and nice working environments. It has been healing to be with a company that is so supportive and so kind. Because not every work environment is that way. I think that Dr. Shaheen managed to grow a company that values genuine kindness, connection, and being nice to each other — even when things are overwhelming. We’re all overwhelmed at times, but I’ve always been treated in the most kind and respectful way. Every time I reach out, somebody answers and is paying attention. They’re making sure we’re okay.

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

A: I think as the world continues to accept the reality that we’re all connected in one way, shape, or form, they’ll realize that we can’t do this on our own. The importance of being able to see and talk to each other even when we’re not in the same space or in the same area is vital. Whether it’s psychiatry or another type of healthcare, the idea that we can see and talk to each other, regardless of where we are, will be important.

Additionally, when it comes to healthcare, there are only so many doctors, and having somebody who can provide services in different areas is going to be positive. When it comes to what we need as individuals, many people need to be close to their families or to an area where they feel comfortable and where they enjoy living. And, that’s not always where a patient is going to be. Having the ability to meet with a patient where they’re comfortable and where the provider is comfortable, too — is a plus. There’s also no commute, and if they have to commute, it’s to a clinic in their area. It’s a win-win.

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