Telepsychiatry Companies

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Integrated mental health services acknowledge that mental health and physical health don’t exist in silos and make high-quality care a reality for patients across the country. What initially began as co-location, a model that puts behavioral health and primary care providers in the same building, but not on the same team, has evolved into a collaborative approach that improves patient outcomes.

This convergence of medical and behavioral health facilitates true collaboration between providers, offers patients the best possible care, and mitigates downstream medical costs. Telepsychiatry helps elevate collaboration even further by making specialty expertise readily available for organizations and their providers.

Read on to learn more about this innovative approach and all the benefits it offers organizations and patients across the country.

The importance of integrated care

The overlap between medical and behavioral conditions is part of what makes integrated care so essential. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes can make someone more susceptible to developing a mental health condition. Likewise, depression can increase the risk of many physical health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

Other co-occurring conditions include:

  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to experience depression, and only 25%-50% of people with diabetes and depression get diagnosed and treated
  • COPD: Around 40% of people with COPD are affected by severe depressive symptoms or clinical depression
  • Inflammation: Higher rates of inflammation can put those with a history of heart attacks at increased risk of depression

The mind and body connection plays a significant role in our everyday lives and makes provider collaboration crucial to a holistic approach to patient care.

The benefits of integrated behavioral health care

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the collaborative care model can effectively control costs, improve access and clinical outcomes. Additionally, it can also increase patient satisfaction in various primary care settings, including rural and urban communities. There are also impactful benefits for patients and providers.

For patients

Convenience is king. When all providers are under one roof, it supercharges the patient experience and eliminates the chance of duplicate procedures, labs, and diagnostics. With integrated care, patients don’t have to worry about requesting records or keeping them on hand because their providers already have them.

For providers

The integrated care model also saves providers time and money. The collaborative model takes the approach of integrating mental health into primary care at the same facility, and their records access is optimized. Shared insights into medical records reduce the risk of medication interactions, allowing providers to see patient prescriptions at the primary care or behavioral health level.

Additionally, the American Psychological Association cites improved patient outcomes, cost savings, and reduced mental health stigma as additional benefits of the integrated care model.

Getting your integrated behavioral health care program started

As with implementing any new process, there may be initial start-up challenges. For example, unless teams are already using the same medical record system, training may need to be implemented to ensure everyone knows how to use the system properly.

It can be easy for teams to revert to a co-location model. Change is challenging and can create hesitation around learning a new medical record system or moving beyond simply referring someone down the hall for a primary care check-up.

The integrated care model takes things a step further, circles back and asks, “How did that go?” “What kind of follow-up do I need to do on that referral?” This model facilitates a more comprehensive level of care that provides more convenience, is cost-effective, and offers a higher level of healthcare for patients and providers.

The value of this model can’t be overstated, and despite initial challenges, it’s essential for teams to keep moving forward. With an integrated care model, everyone benefits in the long run.

Achieving cross-functional buy-in for integrated mental health services

The integrated care model makes tedious processes like tracking down records and labs seamless. It also helps assure providers that their patients are getting holistic treatment for any co-occurring conditions. For example, suppose a patient with diabetes is prescribed an antipsychotic. It’s helpful for the provider to know that their patient is getting high-quality treatment for their diabetes. For these reasons and more, providers typically feel enthusiastic about the new model. However, it’s essential to share those benefits with the rest of the staff and patients.

Walking the team through the process and any new steps is crucial to a successful transition. Ensuring your staff is well-informed of changes, why you’re doing them, and the potential snares can help everyone feel more comfortable.

It’s also important to get buy-in from nurses and staff. Placing these team members on the committee leading the charge towards integrated behavioral health care can make a big difference in the organization’s adaptability.

How organizations are embracing integrated mental health services

Integrated health is the future of funding. It’s one of the direct outcomes of the Medicaid 1115 waivers, it’s a primary outcome for certified community behavioral health centers (CCBHC), and it’s going to be something that insurance payers, Medicare, and Medicaid will require. The fact of the matter is, integrated care isn’t going to be optional at a certain point.

Healthcare organizations want the best for their patients, and offering the full spectrum of care helps them achieve this goal.

Where telepsychiatry fits in

Telepsychiatry elevates the integrated care model and makes specialty care more accessible. This virtual approach to psychiatry is crucial as the country experiences a growing provider shortage. As a 2017 report by the National Council for Behavioral Health revealed, the U.S. may be short by 6,090 to 15,600 psychiatrists by 2025. This shortage makes having a behavioral health provider available even more essential for on-site medical teams.

Having easy access to specialists is especially important in rural areas where finding providers can be particularly challenging. Telepsychiatry simplifies this process by integrating into multiple locations with one set of staff. For instance, you might have one primary care provider in an eight-county rural area. Instead of finding eight providers to go into each clinic, having one who can be plugged into several different centers is highly beneficial.

The future of integrated care

As of 2017, the American Hospital Association (AHA) reports health systems across the U.S. are utilizing some form of integration in the following areas:

  • 51% emergency services
  • 38% primary care services
  • 46% acute inpatient services
  • 17% extended care

This integrated model is quickly becoming the benchmark for high-quality care. As more health systems move away from siloed treatment and towards holistic, person-centered care, the more significant the benefits.

How Iris Telehealth can help

Iris Telehealth envisions a better world through healthy minds, and we’re continually expanding our psychiatry services to those who need it most. If your organization is interested in implementing a telepsychiatry program that can seamlessly integrate into your healthcare organization, Iris can help. Contact us today.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Every day, we see first-hand how telehealth improves access, bridges care gaps, and enhances patient experiences and outcomes.

For many Americans, telehealth has changed how patients receive care and how health systems, community clinics, and providers facilitate care.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of telehealth for mental health.

Table of Contents

Improving access to mental health care
How telehealth bridges care gaps
Enhancing patient experiences with telehealth
The future of telehealth
Where Iris Telehealth fits in

Improving access to mental health care

One of the most considerable challenges in behavioral health is access. For rural populations, individuals living far from mental health services may have issues finding high-quality and culturally competent care. In a survey conducted in 2022, researchers found that 88% of the rural population reported being open to telehealth. And those who required a doctor more often were even more likely to be interested in telehealth.

These figures are significant, considering that 1 in 5 rural Americans require mental health care.

Leveraging telehealth in rural communities allows Americans to receive the care they need. It also bypasses access, transportation, wait times, and stigma challenges. Since virtual services can occur on-site at a clinic or from a patient’s home, they are an effective way to provide care when barriers exist within a community.

How telehealth bridges gaps in care

Telehealth addresses care gaps for specialized populations, including older patients, children, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and those from diverse cultural backgrounds. Recent data shows that Black patients’ telehealth visit completion rates skyrocketed to 70% from 52% in a Philadelphia health system during the pandemic. According to this study, the challenges of physically traveling to a clinic and taking time off work are significant barriers to mental health care. Virtual behavioral health services can minimize any social determinants of health that communities face.

For example, with a virtual care option, children do not need to miss school, older patients who have trouble traveling can stay home, and patients from marginalized communities can work with a provider who can better relate to and address their unique mental health needs.

Additionally, leveraging telehealth can help organizations combat the worsening psychiatrist shortages, which contributes to a significant gap in mental health care.

Enhancing patient experiences with telehealth

Patients like the results and flexibility telehealth for mental health provides and want to keep using it. While some patients may need to come in person for care, having virtual behavioral health options can deliver massive benefits.

Here are just a few ways telehealth improves the patient experience:

  1. Better health outcomes: Telehealth can foster better communication between providers and patients, improving health outcomes overall. 93% of patients report that they would use telemedicine to manage prescriptions, and 91% of patients say they patients would use telemedicine to adhere to appointments. Patients can also proactively manage their health with the usage of telehealth by using it for prescription management and appointment adherence.
  2. Increased continuity of care: Access is everything in mental health care, and telehealth helps improve access and supports continuity of care. In a 2023 study conducted by CVS and The Harris Poll, 85% of people between the ages of 33 and 40 believe that digital health services have made mental health care more accessible. When patients can see the same provider consistently, the patient experience is better. Telehealth makes getting care easier for patients.
  3. Access to specialty care: When patients need a specialist, such as a child psychiatrist, it can be challenging to navigate the system and find a provider. Telehealth facilitates more straightforward access to mental health specialists for patients and enables collaborative care between providers and specialists, ensuring the best patient care possible. In fact, a 2022 AMA study reported that 75% of clinicians reported that telehealth enabled them to provide quality care.

The future of telehealth

Telehealth has become the new normal, and we think it’s here to stay. With many healthcare organizations leveraging virtual behavioral health to provide high-quality care, their communities and providers can experience the benefits of telehealth for mental health.

In December of 2022, President Biden signed the Omnibus Bill, providing $10 billion for behavioral health and expanding telehealth flexibilities for Medicare beneficiaries. This bill supports expanding workforce development programs and buprenorphine deregulation in the behavioral health industry.

For patients, telehealth has significantly contributed to reducing stigma. The next phase of healthcare involves finding non-stigmatizing and meaningful ways to support individuals with mental health conditions. Telehealth has presented opportunities in this regard and has offered individuals a way to diminish barriers, especially ones related to stigma.

We’re confident telehealth will continue to increase its impact on the behavioral health landscape in the years to come.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

Telehealth has significantly impacted the behavioral health landscape and will continue to have an impact in the future. If you’re looking to implement telehealth into your organization, contact us today to see how our telepsychiatry services can help.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Quick links
Key considerations for recruiting mental health professionals
How to determine the right provider type for your behavioral health program
Resources to assist with recruiting mental health professionals
Next steps for staffing your behavioral health program

Investing in virtual behavioral health connects your patients with specialists who can provide effective care while increasing access and allowing on-site providers to practice at the top of their licenses.

Keep reading to learn more about the different provider types available in a remote setting and how to recruit psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. You’ll also learn how to find the best fit for your population, organization, and care team.

Key considerations for recruiting mental health professionals

Before you get started with behavioral health staffing, there are a few questions to consider. First, do you have the patient volume to support a telehealth provider? Next, how will your population respond to telehealth?

If the volume of patients is there, and you think your population would respond well, you’ll want to consider what qualities to look for in your ideal telehealth provider.

It’s important to note that whatever qualities you look for in an on-site provider, you’ll also want in a remote provider. The only difference between in-person and remote is the variation in workflows – like the way your provider will integrate into your electronic medical records (EMR) and care team.

Here are a few qualities we think make an exceptional telehealth provider:

  • Self-starter
  • Flexible
  • Tech-savvy
  • Self-sufficient
  • Independent
  • Open communicator

An essential component in finding the right clinician type for your population is partnering with an organization that facilitates provider-matching services. As part of the provider matching process, you’ll get to do a meet and greet with your potential provider to ensure they’re a good match for your organization.

This process helps you get a good feel for how the provider presents over the computer, if they project well, and how they handle technology. All these things directly relate to how they might present to a patient.

How to determine the right provider type for your behavioral health program

Here at Iris Telehealth, we work with several provider types, including psychiatrists, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs), and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). These providers help deliver telepsychiatry and teletherapy services to healthcare organizations all over the country.

But, how do you know which provider is best for your patients? Let’s take a look at some of the unique benefits and differentiators between these particular provider types:

  • Psychiatrists: There’s a high demand for psychaitrists because of their great depth of experience and their ability to serve as an excellent resource for mentoring care teams. Additionally, because of their knowledge and experience, patients have great confidence in MDs. On the organizational side, MDs often require more extensive support staff to help with appointment scheduling and helping patients get into their calls.
  • PMHNPs: PMHNPs are often self-sufficient and flexible. Once a PMHNP is certified, they can practice across the patient lifespan, allowing them to treat children, adolescents, adults and geriatric populations. PMHNPs also require less support staff to facilitate daily scheduling and getting patients into their calls. They carry a great depth of experience, are equipped with a wide range of specialties, and are fantastic at problem-solving and filling in where needed.
  • LCSWs: LCSWs are self-starters who think outside the box, and are excellent at helping the remote work process run smoothly. They’re excellent resources for helping out with other projects at the clinic. Additionally, they work with case managers and the rest of the care team to talk big picture for patients and the rest of the clinic. Some LCSWs are also trained in specialty techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), solution-focused therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),crisis intervention model, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Resources to assist with recruiting mental health professionals

Every provider offers something unique to patient care, and are a great resource to any team. To get a deeper understanding of what each of these providers can bring to the table, be sure to check out the following resources:

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Quick links
Telehealth bridges care gaps
Telemedicine use among Americans
Rules and regulations related to telehealth
Telehealth satisfaction by numbers
How Iris Telehealth can help

During the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers, organizations, and patients turned to telehealth as a way to deliver and receive mental health services. In fact, by 2022, more than 1 in 5 Americans were using telehealth to receive care.

But is telehealth here to stay for the long haul? We think so. Telehealth has become the new normal and will continue to impact the behavioral health space with its ability to provide effective, quality care and create greater access for those who need mental health treatment. Keep reading to learn about the impact of telehealth, new rules and regulations making telehealth available to more people, and how telehealth has positioned itself as a mainstay in healthcare.

Telehealth bridges care gaps

One of the central reasons we believe telehealth is here to stay is because of its ability to improve access to care for people facing transportation and financial challenges or those encountering obstacles related to stigma and race. Expanded access is especially impactful for patients living in rural areas as telehealth allows them to connect with high-quality care even if there’s not a provider living in their geographical region. For those from different cultural backgrounds, telehealth can reduce discomfort and increase understanding of cultural nuances.

Telehealth enables organizations to draw from a large provider pool, allowing patients to connect with providers who address specialized needs, speak the same language, or have similar cultural experiences. This connection through telehealth offers a better understanding between the patient and provider, leading to better health outcomes.

Telemedicine use among Americans

Another positive sign of telehealth’s staying power is recent data on usage and the benefits it brings to specific populations. No matter what type of provider and where individuals are located, telepsychiatry meets Americans right where they are.

Patient populations who stand to benefit the most from telehealth include:

  • Older adults: Many older adults experience barriers to access, have unnoticed behavioral health conditions, or other medical conditions that might need attention on top of their mental health. Among adults aged 50-80, telehealth usage jumped from 4% in May 2019 to 26% in June 2020.
  • LGBTQIA+: LBGTQIA+ adults and youth can be impacted by discrimination in healthcare settings. The offering of remote care delivery can help them receive non-discriminatory care from a safe location. Telehealth offers privacy and security for members of the LGBTQIA+ community who might be faced with stigma. With 60% of LGBTQIA+ youth reporting that they wanted to receive mental health care in 2020, telehealth can be one solution to ensure they receive the care and support they need.
  • Rural Americans: Rural Americans can face stigma as well, especially when there can be a lack of anonymity in their communities. With one-third of Americans worrying about others judging them for seeking mental health treatment, telepsychiatry offers an opportunity for rural communities to receive the same level of care as a metropolitan area without the stigma involved.
  • Mothers: According to a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 60% of women had telemedicine visits in the past two years. Women are more likely to use telehealth in a post-COVID world. The convenience of virtual care can be beneficial for women who are caregivers, or for those who reside in a health professional shortage area (HPSA).

Recently, telehealth has been recognized at a policy level – underscoring how crucial this platform is to people’s well-being. After COVID-19 started impacting communities across the country, telehealth restrictions loosened. Millions of patients could meet with their healthcare providers via a smartphone or another digital device. And this level of access has continued.

New bills from the executive branch could point to telehealth usage expanding. The latest Omnibus Bill that President Biden recently signed will put at least $10 billion into behavioral health in 2023. The bill will extend telehealth flexibilities for Medicare beneficiaries, buprenorphine deregulation, and put more money towards expanding workforce development programs in the behavioral health space.

With the healthcare landscape changing at a policy level in a post-pandemic world, the future of telehealth is likely to create impactful change in access and delivery of healthcare.

Telehealth satisfaction by numbers

By the numbers, patients and providers are widely satisfied with the benefits and convenience that telehealth delivers. Here are a few key ways telehealth is making an impact:

  • Patient satisfaction: One of the largest benefits of telepsychiatry is patient satisfaction and experience. A new study about patient satisfaction showed that 63% of patients had their medical and social needs met by their providers over telehealth. These results indicate that patients are satisfied with the care they receive when using telehealth.
  • Convenience: Another survey conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says that Americans value the convenience associated with telehealth. The results noted that 69% of Americans prefer telehealth services over in-person care for convenience.
  • Provider satisfaction: Telehealth offers excellent value to providers. The American Medical Association (AMA) states that providers have enjoyed using telehealth, as 85% of providers agreed that it increased the timeliness of care, and 70% were even motivated to increase telehealth use for their patients.
  • Accessibility: Telehealth serves as a bridge between patients and providers. According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, providers have been seeing 50 to 175 times more patients via telehealth than before the pandemic. More providers using telehealth means more patients can be seen. Telehealth benefits both patients and providers by allowing more patients to get through the door without missing their appointments.
  • Health outcomes: Telehealth opens communication between providers and patients, leading to better health outcomes. This communication can help patients take better care of themselves and be more proactive with their health. Medical Economics shares that 93% of patients would use telemedicine to manage prescriptions and 91% of patients would use telemedicine to adhere to appointments.

How Iris Telehealth can help

Iris Telehealth can help you meet your organization’s behavioral health goals by making the implementation of a telepsychiatry solution as easy as possible. We believe integral to the future of behavioral health, offering many benefits for your organization, patients, and clinicians. Contact us today to see how our telepsychiatry services can help your team provide high-quality care for your patients.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Quick links
Telemental health services solve common challenges
How telemental health works for organizations
How telehealth works for certain conditions and populations
How Iris can help

If you’re looking to implement telehealth services into your organization, you might wonder, “how does telehealth work?” We’ve broken down all the need-to-know information – starting with the definition of telemental health services.

Telemental health services are a growing and effective way to provide behavioral health care to people living in rural and underserved communities and hospitals experiencing a high influx of patients seeking behavioral health care. Telemental health services can take place on-site at an organization’s clinic or virtually from the patient’s home. Additionally, researchers say that within a few years, there will be a shortage and overextension of psychiatrists and other behavioral health workers, positioning telehealth as an excellent way to treat underserved populations and bridge care gaps.

But how does telehealth work for mental health care? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of telehealth, what telepsychiatry looks like in practice, and how it can be an invaluable resource for communities and providers alike.

Telemental health services solve common challenges

With an increased demand for specialty mental health treatment and a lack of resources to meet these needs, providing patients with access to high-quality psychiatric care through a virtual visit can help solve these common challenges. Telemental health can benefit providers as well, giving them specialists to lean on when working with patients with behavioral health needs.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits for patients and providers.

Patient satisfaction: In a study by the American Medical Association (AMA), 79% of patients were satisfied with the care they received during their last telehealth visit. The option of having telehealth at your organization means patients can take their sessions from the comfort of their home or on-site at your organization, leading to greater patient satisfaction. Utilizing telehealth services can decrease no-show rates and ultimately increase access for people who experience conditions that make it hard for them to receive the care they need. Virtual visits also combat challenges related to long commute times, lack of transportation, and taking time off work.

Provider satisfaction: Provider satisfaction is also important to organizations that want to make sure their clinicians love their work. By incorporating virtual providers into your team, you can support your on-site clinicians with mental health specialists, enabling them to better serve their patients. Once integrated, remote providers feel like an extension of your on-site team and help create a better patient experience for your community.

How telemental health works for organizations

One of the benefits of bringing telemental health providers onto your team is consistency. With telemental health, there is no difference in the level of care, length of treatment, or how a provider conducts their appointment between a virtual and on-site appointment.

Whether you’re seeing your patients on-site or from their homes, here are a few steps you can take to ensure telehealth will work for your organization:

  • Enable flexible access to virtual care: When implementing telemental health into your community organization, your patients have the option to receive their care on-site or take their appointments from home. When they are on-site, there is a video set up allowing them to connect with their remote provider. When a patient is seen from home, providers use a platform that directly connects them to the patient.
  • Make sure your telehealth partner can integrate into your electronic medical record (EMR): Telehealth vendors should be able to seamlessly integrate into your systems and workflows. That’s why at Iris, we’re technology neutral and work with whatever platform an organization is using. 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 and can help reduce the frustration that comes with technology. (Want to learn more about EMRs and telepsychiatry? Check out our blog for all the details.)
  • Work in collaborative care teams: Telepsychiatry can elevate the integrated care model and empower collaboration between on-site and remote providers. For instance, over a virtual appointment, it’s difficult to tell with certainty if a patient has an injury or any physical discomforts. An on-site provider can identify these things and relay the information to the remote provider. The partnership between both providers allows for a better diagnosis in the long run.
  • Ensure you have a telehealth champion on-site at your organization: The biggest thing that will aid in the implementation of telehealth is to have a “telehealth champion” on-site. This champion is someone that believes in telehealth, understands it’s benefits, and can help others on-site see the benefits as well. A clinical setting with a champion helps remote providers ease into a care team leading to a more effective and seamless application of telehealth.
  • Team up with a telepsychiatry vendor that offers provider matching: The provider 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, increases provider satisfaction, and ensures quality of care for organizations and their patients. Working with a telepsychiatry vendor that offers provider-matching services makes it easier to find a provider who can meet your organization’s needs and fill in care gaps.

How telehealth works for certain conditions and populations

It is essential to take a close look at what your patient populations want and need. For example, if your organization provides care to rural populations or non-English speaking communities, your organization may benefit from using telepsychiatry to help connect these populations to bilingual providers from the comfort of their own homes.

While telehealth can help patients address mental health concerns broadly, let’s take a closer look at how it can assist with specific conditions:

  • Eating disorders: With a team that includes a doctor, a therapist, and a dietitian, treatment over telehealth can be an option for patients. Virtual nutrition coaching and talk therapy have contributed to addressing eating disorders. Eating disorders are increasingly prevalent among children and younger adults, and early intervention helps patients take the necessary steps to potentially avoid serious illness.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): For those struggling with PTSD, it can be hard to make an in-person appointment, especially if they can be triggered outside the comfort of their own home. By eliminating travel for patients with PTSD and using telehealth, your organization can allow your patients to receive specialty care and more flexibility with scheduling.
  • Depression: The American Journal of Preventative Medicine says that 1 in 10 Americans reported having depression in 2020, with younger adults and adolescents having higher rates. Getting mental health care can be difficult for those with depression. Symptoms make it hard to get out of bed, get dressed, and sometimes meet face-to-face with a provider. Telehealth can offer an effective alternative for patients with depression to receive care, as it relieves many of those difficulties.
  • Anxiety: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Diagnosing and treating patients through telehealth can be a great option. It gives them more privacy, comfort, and convenience, improving their experience. The anxiety of leaving the house, waiting in uncomfortable waiting rooms, or unfamiliar settings may help if telemental health services are available for your patients.

How Iris can help

Iris Telehealth is here as a resource for healthcare organizations that need support transitioning into telehealth. Whether your patients are accessing mental health services on-site or from their home, we’ll help ensure your community and providers are set up for success with a team committed to your organization’s vision for successful behavioral health services. Contact us today to see if our telepsychiatry services would be a good match for your organization.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Quick links
Understanding the provider and patient experience
The benefits of telepsychiatry and collaborative care
Three key ways telepsychiatry is indispensable during shortages
Where Iris Telehealth fits in

America’s provider shortage continues to grow, and people across the country are feeling the strain. Between the greater demand for treatment, limited residency spots, and a decrease in stigma around mental health treatment, there’s a clear need for effective patient care and more providers. By the numbers, the behavioral health provider shortage impacts 129 million Americans, with over three-quarters of U.S. counties experiencing a severe lack of mental health prescribers or non-prescribers.

Thankfully, telepsychiatry can help healthcare organizations across the country keep up with the growing demand for mental health care. Keep reading to learn how telepsychiatry can help your organization combat the provider shortage and provide your community with the high-quality care it needs.

Understanding the provider and patient experience

Today, many providers are experiencing high levels of burnout nd loss of job satisfaction. For organizations, burnout means decreased continuity of care for their patients and more barriers to hiring quality providers. For patients, this shortage of psychiatrists equates to waiting lists and considerable time spent sitting in the emergency department (ED) waiting for help.

Let’s take a look at what each of these experiences looks like up close:

    • Providers: Provider burnout is a significant issue, affecting 78% of psychiatrists. Contributing factors to burnout may include work environment, compassion fatigue, and struggle to achieve work-life balance. At Iris Telehealth, we remove barriers like paperwork, credentialing, and licensing. That way, they can have the time, flexibility, and support to care for themselves and their patients. And when providers are healthy and happy, their patients get the high-quality care they need.
    • Patients: Patients are critically impacted by psychiatry shortages. For patients, getting care when and where they need it is crucial, and long waits can cause them to go into crisis. In fact, long wait times have led to crises in emergency departments across the U.S. With a lack of beds and providers to meet patient needs, people are spending extensive amounts of time waiting for treatment.

Telepsychiatry can help patients get the care they need when they need it. In the community space, telepsychiatry can connect patients with high-quality, experienced providers who can help them get the right care, including medication recommendations and therapy. For organizations seeking providers who can care for the needs of specific populations, this help is crucial. Telepsychiatry allows organizations to recruit top-quality providers from a wider geographic pool.

The benefits of telepsychiatry and collaborative care

There are several steps healthcare organizations can take to help compensate for the lack of providers, including implementing telepsychiatry and investing in collaborative care. Telepsychiatry delivers quality, sustainable behavioral health care to healthcare organizations while also providing best-in-class support and expertise.

Organizations are also leaning into collaborative care. In fact, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and primary care clinics are expanding their mental health offerings – investing in LCSWs, therapists, psychiatrists, and PMHNPs to embrace this model. Collaborative care is elevated by telepsychiatry and makes specialty care more accessible. Providing this level of access to those in rural areas, where finding providers can be particularly challenging, is especially important.

Telepsychiatry simplifies this process by integrating into multiple locations with one set of staff. For instance, you might have one primary care provider in an eight-county rural area. Instead of finding eight providers to go into each clinic, having one who can plug into several locations is highly beneficial.

Three key ways telepsychiatry is indispensable during shortages

Telepsychiatry is a powerful tool that connects patients with high-quality care and helps organizations expand their behavioral health programs while supporting their on-site teams. Because of these benefits, telepsychiatry has become indispensable during provider shortages.

Let’s look at three other reasons telepsychiatry stands out as a solution during the provider shortage:

    1. Telepsychiatry has an expansive reach: Telepsychiatry connects organizations with high-quality, specialty providers they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. If an organization in rural America needs a provider who practices within a particular specialty, they can virtually bring them into their clinic or hospital and provide valuable care to underserved populations.
    2. Telepsychiatry can reduce provider burnout: Telepsychiatry is especially beneficial to providers as it cuts the commute out of their day, gives them more time and flexibility, and combats compassion fatigue. It also allows for more self-care time, lets them work with a population they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach, and ultimately helps increase work satisfaction.
    3. Patients get the care they need when they need it: Telepsychiatry connects patients to specialty care and helps organizations avoid care gaps. It also provides the long-term sustainability patients and providers need to build relationships.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

At Iris, we are dedicated to improving patient outcomes with exceptional behavioral health care. We match your organization with the best behavioral health providers for your community, provide the behavioral health expertise you need to optimize your program, and deliver best-in-class support to make telepsychiatry a seamless, long-term solution for your healthcare organization and your patients.

Contact us today if you’d like to implement a telepsychiatry solution into your organization.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

There are many barriers that can keep people from getting the mental health care they need. One of these key barriers is access. Thankfully, organizations like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to drive new initiatives to mitigate this barrier and help more people get the care they need. In November 2022, CMS finalized new rules to expand access to behavioral health.

Key initiatives include flexibility in billing and supervision as well as permanently covering certain telehealth services. These new flexibilities improve access to substance use and mental health services for patients all across the country.

These new telehealth rules are an optimistic next step in expanding behavioral health care to those who need it most. That’s why we’ve condensed everything you and your providers need to know about the newly expanded rules.

Overview of new CMS rules

At a high level, these new changes by CMS include flexibility in supervision denoting that a supervising clinician does not need to be on-site for certain behavioral health services. In addition, Medicare will pay opioid treatment programs to start MAT (medication assisted treatment) with buprenorphine for care delivered via telehealth or by a mobile unit.

Let’s take a closer look at these two final rules:

1. Physician fee schedule final rule: This new rule helps ensure patients needing behavioral health care can access the care they need. By no longer requiring clinicians to be on-site for billable behavioral health services, it opens up greater opportunity for those enrolled in Medicare to see their providers.

This rule states that certain behavioral health clinicians can provide care without their supervisor on-site. CMS permits clinicians like licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) to bill under the general supervision of a physician or non-physician practitioner rather than direct supervision for any mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

Additionally, the final physician fee schedule rule also clarifies that any mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) treatment service is billed under general supervision.

2. Hospital outpatient prospective payment system final rule: The hospital outpatient prospective payment system final rule allows hospital outpatient departments to bill for certain in-home telebehavioral health services when patients cannot go in person for a visit but need to be seen. This expanded access is crucial for reaching those in rural communities who need care.

This final rule requires patients to have an in-person visit within 6 months before and every 12 months after the telehealth visit. However, if the patient and provider agree that the risk and burden of an in-person visit outweighs the benefits, they can forgo the in-person visit.

Additionally, the final rule allows audio-only visits when video technology isn’t available.

Core benefits of the new CMS rules

These new rules provide benefits for providers, patients, and organizations overall. Here are a few core benefits for each person in the healthcare ecosystem:

    • For patients: Access is everything in mental health care and these new rules from CMS help patients secure continuity of care. Additionally, as this access improves, there are more opportunities for patients to find the right care.
    • For providers: Making the public health emergency telehealth flexibilities permanent means there is no longer a worry about a disruption of workflow and care – should this line of service no longer be a billable option. The new rules create flexibility in delivery of care; via telehealth and a more flexible supervision model allowing clinicians to reach more patients.Additionally, the CMS rules provide new codes for psychologists and LCSWs for behavioral integration, allowing services to be delivered in a primary care setting which ultimately improves patient access to substance use and mental health services.If you’re a provider looking to learn more about navigating these new changes, check out this article by CMS.
    • For organizations: As the new rules permanently cover certain telehealth services, organizations who are delivering care via telehealth are able to maintain this model that has ensured continuity of care during the pandemic and improved the number of patients served.

How Iris Can Help

At Iris, we’re always here to clarify and help your organization understand new rules and regulations in the evolving telehealth landscape. If you have any questions about the new CMS rules, we can help guide you and your team through these new changes. To talk to one of our team members, contact us today.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Lack of access to proper psychiatric care in the United States is a major challenge for our healthcare system. However, virtual solutions like telepsychiatry make getting psychiatric care more accessible, effective, and patient-centered.

The benefits of telepsychiatry for patients are significant. In fact, a study by the American Medical Association demonstrated 79% patient satisfaction with telehealth. For patients, telepsychiatry opens up access, facilitates shorter wait times, and cuts out the commute to the doctor’s office.

While these benefits are essential, let’s take a closer look at all the ways telepsychiatry boosts patient satisfaction.

State of telepsychiatry

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves relying on telehealth to get care. In fact, during the first four months of COVID-19, telehealth visits accounted for 23.6% of all interactions. Today, telehealth continues to provide care to those who cannot reach behavioral health services as easily.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals and health systems continue to experience challenges meeting patient volume and needs with limited behavioral health resources. Additionally, the ongoing provider shortage underscores the importance of leveraging telepsychiatry as patients still struggle to receive timely care. Thankfully, telepsychiatry can ensure patients receive quality, timely, and sustainable care by connecting them to providers regardless of geographic location.

Patient satisfaction by the numbers

Convenience is an essential factor that contributes to patient satisfaction. According to the American Medical Association, 62% of physicians feel like their patients have higher satisfaction since they’ve started offering telehealth as an option.

At Iris, our clinicians have a similar experience with patient satisfaction. Courtney Bearden, one of our psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, says telepsychiatry is convenient for her patients who don’t have transportation and that virtual care has opened up care for people who haven’t gotten it before – especially those in rural areas.

Additionally, research shows that telepsychiatry is an effective way to increase patient access. According to the 2022 CVS Health Care insights, 59% of patients said that accessing virtual telehealth services was essential to their health.

Overall, the data is clear – telehealth patient satisfaction is high. The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study says that a growing number of patients prefer telehealth visits for various types of care, including routine care, prescription refills, and regular mental health visits. The survey also says 94% of patients and their families who have used telehealth in the past “definitely will” or “probably will” continue to utilize it.

Telepsychiatry reaches those who need care most

In a database released by the Health Resources & Services Administration, they found that 157 million people live in a mental health professional shortage area (HPSA). Telehealth makes access to specialty behavioral health providers more easily available to those who live far from care.

Here are just a few of the populations that benefit from telepsychiatry access:

    • LGBTQIA+: For LGBTQIA+ youth, access to mental health can be difficult due to inadequate mental health care, fear of discussing mental health concerns, and stigma. Utilizing telepsychiatry can help LGBTQIA+ youth overcome some of these barriers by promoting a safe and accessible method for the delivery of care.
    • Youth: Child psychiatry is more important than ever, with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry declaring a mental health emergency for youth. With the use of telepsychiatry, children can be screened for mental health conditions, and have a psychiatrist ready to support and treat them. Additionally, parents no longer have to take time out of their day to bring their children to their mental health appointments, making care more convenient for both families and children.
    • Geriatric populations: Early intervention, collaborative care, and a holistic approach are both vital when it comes to addressing the health of the geriatric population in your community. Telepsychiatry can be an essential tool for older adults to receive care from the comfort of their own homes while maintaining a sense of autonomy.
    • Rural populations: Barriers like limited health literacy, transportation challenges, and privacy are just a few challenges that rural populations face when they’re trying to get the care they need. However, telepsychiatry provides an opportunity for rural communities to connect to a high-quality mental health provider without a long commute and fear of stigma.
    • Underserved populations: Social determinants of health create and exacerbate mental illness by making access to mental health care more difficult. Access to providers that are culturally competent can allow minorities to connect with a provider who can better relate to their experiences.

How telepsychiatry boosts patient satisfaction in the ED

In the emergency department (ED), telepsychiatry can allow patients faster access to behavioral health care through a virtual visit. This improved access means patients don’t have to wait hours to receive treatment and can have a shorter stay in the ED – leading to an improved patient experience overall.

Avoiding ED boarding is crucial to patient satisfaction, as there are many downstream harms that can come with it. The Joint Commission (TJC) recently shared how boarding is a patient safety risk that leads to increased medical errors, compromised patient privacy, and increased mortality, especially if it exceeds four hours. With the help of telepsychiatry, organizations can increase throughput in the ED and decrease the need for patient boarding.

How Iris can help

At Iris Telehealth, we envision a better world through healthy minds. If you’re looking to meet the behavioral needs of your community and help your patients achieve better health outcomes, telepsychiatry is the perfect solution. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about implementing telepsychiatry into your organization.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

As the healthcare industry evolves, one thing is certain: telehealth is here to stay. In fact, we believe that telepsychiatry is revolutionizing the way healthcare organizations approach behavioral health.

Below we share five ways telepsychiatry is shaping the future of behavioral health and how your organization and patients can benefit.

1. Telepsychiatry equalizes behavioral healthcare access nationwide

Telepsychiatry is far from new. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Iris Telehealth worked with healthcare organizations to leverage telepsychiatry to provide quality behavioral health care.

However, due to federal and state-wide telehealth restrictions, many patients were cut off from quality care due to their geographical location.

In fact, a 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 25% of rural residents travel approximately 34 minutes to get to the nearest hospital. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) also reports that 150 million people live in mental health professional shortage areas. To make matters worse, many rural hospitals suffer from these shortages, and the AAMC says the country will be short between 14,280 and 31,109 psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in a few years.

However, after COVID-19 started impacting communities across the country, telehealth restrictions loosened, and suddenly millions of patients had the option to meet with their healthcare providers via a smartphone or another digital device. And, this level of access has continued.

By utilizing telehealth for behavioral health, Patients in both urban and rural locations can use telepsychiatry to access psychiatric services faster and get the care they need. They can also overcome financial constraints to psychiatric care, such as having to miss work or arrange childcare to travel to a psychiatrist’s office.

2. Telehealth increases medication adherence and follow-up visits

Mental health patients are often subject to being labeled with terms, such as “noncompliant,” “difficult,” and “frequent flyer.” But underneath these stigmas lies a stark truth: many of these patients are facing evidence-based barriers that prevent them from continuing their psychiatric care.

These barriers include:

    • Socioeconomic obstacles (e.g., poverty, lack of insurance coverage)
    • Feelings of guilt and shame
    • Misunderstandings around their mental health condition
    • Mistrust toward healthcare providers

Comprehensive patient support is vital to eliminating these hurdles. This support includes extensive education, accurate diagnosis, and targeted treatment from compassionate psychiatric providers – including through telehealth.

Through telepsychiatry, healthcare organizations can drive patient engagement while helping patients overcome stigmas, attend follow-up appointments, and strengthen medication adherence.

In fact, according to a recent 2022 Health Care Insights Study conducted by CVS Health, researchers found that over half of consumers say the availability of virtual mental health services would increase their chances of seeking care.

3. Telepsychiatry enhances patient-provider flexibility

For both patients and providers, long wait times are often a significant burden in behavioral healthcare. Telepsychiatry can help solve these issues by decreasing the time it takes for mental health patients to see a psychiatric provider.

Rather than waiting hours for an in-person visit, patients can speak with a telepsychiatry provider in minutes. Telepsychiatry meets patients wherever they are — whether in their home or another remote location. In addition, patients can receive information about their care (from the telepsychiatry provider) via text message or email.

This flexibility delivers greater patient satisfaction and wellbeing —all while lightning staff workflows and allowing healthcare organizations to grow their cost savings.

4. Telepsychiatry boosts collaboration among stakeholders

Innovations like artificial intelligence and telepsychiatry have given new meaning to collaboration. For example, in telepsychiatry, we can use the patient data — obtained from digital forms and other health tools — to guide psychiatric care and communicate more precise, targeted insights to the healthcare team.

We’ve also seen stronger collaboration among legislators in the form of bipartisan telehealth policies designed to address real patient concerns, including mental health care. This leads us to believe that telepsychiatry will continue to add significant value to providers and patients long after the pandemic.

However, there’s still a lot of work to be done. For starters, there are only hints of what telehealth reimbursement will look like going forward. Therefore, it’s important for healthcare organizations to stay on top of federal, state, and FDA developments. This focus will ensure your organization makes well-informed decisions when it comes to psychiatric patient care and support.

5. Telepsychiatry aids in the shift to value-based care

The healthcare industry is increasingly leaning towards value-based care — most notably, population health. This shift means the traditional fee-for-service model is slowly disappearing, thereby motivating healthcare organizations to remove silos and take a more holistic approach to patient care.

It can be challenging to understand all the different aspects of population health, let alone develop cost-effective strategies to implement it. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with vendors that can help your organization achieve sustainable population-health success.

For example, partnering with a technology-neutral provider like Iris Telehealth saves you from having to invest in a special software platform, electronic medical record (EMR), or equipment. By partnering with a technology-neutral vendor, qualified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners will utilize your organization’s existing EMR and equipment.

That means an easier transition to a long-term telepsychiatry program, cost savings, more satisfied staff, and most importantly, better mental and population health outcomes.

The bottom line

Telepsychiatry has become the new normal and will continue to impact the telehealth behavioral health space in big ways. Whether it’s opening up access to quality care or helping EDs meet high patient demand, there’s no doubt that telepsychiatry has created a brighter future for behavioral health care.

People are leaning on telehealth as a tool to help them meet their mental health needs and the data speaks for itself:

      • 93% of providers believe virtual visits increased the chances of patients keeping their appointments
      • 71% of consumers believe virtual mental health services would be more convenient
      • 57% of providers believe access to mental health professionals would be very helpful to their patient population

If you’re looking for highly qualified, compassionate psychiatrists and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, Iris Telehealth can help. Contact us for more information about starting a telepsychiatry program that can improve your organization’s behavioral health outcomes.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Mental health care is inaccessible to many, whether it’s due to transportation barriers, economic opportunity, or obstacles related to race or stigma – getting treatment isn’t always easy.

For healthcare organizations, barriers like these highlight the importance of providing high-quality and accessible care to communities across the country. But, what does genuinely accessible care look like? Truly accessible care meets people where they are, with the right care, at the right time – without concern for location, schedule, or socioeconomic class.

Telepsychiatry meets this demand head-on, creating a bridge between people and the care gaps they encounter when seeking mental health care. Read on to learn more about specific barriers people are facing, how telepsychiatry solves these challenges, and how healthcare organizations can benefit from embracing a truly accessible behavioral health approach.

Addressing language barriers with telepsychiatry

For many patients, deciding to seek mental health treatment is a big decision, and many factors might deter them from getting that help.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) cites several barriers to care for Hispanic and Latino populations in the U.S., including:

  • Language barriers
  • Lack of culturally tailored services
  • Lack of culturally competent mental professionals
  • Shortage of bilingual or linguistically trained mental health professionals

The APA also reports that only one in 20 Hispanics with a mental disorder receive mental health services from a specialist. For patients who speak another language, having a provider who understands their culture and language can help them feel less hesitant about seeking care. However, only 6% of mental health providers in the U.S. are Hispanic, and only 5.5% provide services in Spanish.

Thankfully, telepsychiatry can help bridge this gap. At Iris Telehealth, we draw from a large provider pool, and our patients can connect with providers outside of their geographic area who may speak their same language or have experience with their culture. This connection is highly beneficial to individuals who may not have a provider they can connect with locally.

However, if no providers are available, interpreters can also help patients communicate during their visit. Interpreters work for telepsychiatry the same way they would during an in-person visit. It just requires some organizational efforts on the clinical side and reassurance to the patient that the support is available. If the facility doesn’t have an in-person interpreter, they can join the virtual call. Whether a patient connects directly with a provider who speaks their language or works with an interpreter, telepsychiatry breaks down barriers to help them get the care they need and deserve.

Reaching people where they are with telepsychiatry

For people in rural areas, getting the mental health care they need can seem next to impossible. Rural Americans face several barriers, including the expense of taking time away from work, coordinating with their child’s school or daycare schedules, and the lack of mental health providers in their geographic region. And, even if there are providers close by, there’s typically an extensive waiting list to get care.

Along with these barriers, transportation is a real issue for people in these communities. In an American Hospital Association (AHA) report, 3.6 million people cannot access medical care due to a lack of transportation, and figuring out a way to help individuals get to and from their appointments is crucial to their health.

Despite these barriers, telepsychiatry can free up schedules, help with the expense of driving, and make it possible for someone in remote parts of the country to get the psychiatric care they need. Telepsychiatry serves as a creative avenue for support, allowing people to connect to a high-quality, specialty mental health provider from the privacy of their homes and enabling them to maintain their anonymity at a community level.

Telepsychiatry connects patients with specialty care

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tremendously difficult on families. From schools opening and closing to wearing masks to children losing caregivers – families have been through many changes. Through it all, people have been doing their best to find support.

Families, or anyone deciding to get help, may find themselves overwhelmed by the complicated system or the lack of available providers. Many patients will call a long list of providers to find out they’re calling the wrong type of provider once they have a conversation and realize they need a particular specialist, like a child psychiatrist.

Telepsychiatry helps healthcare organizations connect these patients with the right specialty providers. This level of access is incredibly beneficial to patients.

Overcoming technology barriers with telepsychiatry

Technology may be a barrier for some individuals who aren’t comfortable with virtual platforms. However, there are many steps organizations can take to help make technology more accessible to their patients, whatever the comfort level.

Here are a few steps providers can take to help increase patient comfort with technology:

  • Establish a rapport and provide education about what the experience will look like
  • Let patients know there is a backup plan if the technology fails
  • Reassure them that their appointment will not be lost if they’re disconnected
  • Remind the patient that they have support so they don’t feel overwhelmed

Taking these steps can help ensure technology doesn’t create a barrier or present itself as a barrier to seeking care.

By partnering with a telepsychiatry vendor that seamlessly integrates into your systems, patients in the community can access providers from across the country at their local clinic, regardless of what personal access they may have at home. Telepsychiatry creates an easy experience that meets people where they are with compassionate providers ready to provide support.

The importance of provider fit for healthcare organizations

With an increased rate of anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder in communities across the U.S., increasing accessibility to specialty care has never been more critical. Healthcare organizations understand this need well, whether they’ve experienced barriers around the provider shortage or have had difficulty finding the right telepsychiatry provider.

At Iris, we work hard to understand your organization’s needs and find the right provider match for your population. This job-matching approach helps organizations find a provider who will be with them for the long term and establish a relationship with the same level of engagement as if they were on the ground.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

Iris Telehealth works with healthcare organizations across the country to bring high-quality, specialty psychiatry services to people who need them most. If you’re a healthcare organization looking to increase access in your community, Iris Telehealth can work with you to seamlessly integrate behavioral health services. Contact us today.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

There’s a lot to consider when implementing telepsychiatry into your health system, but first, let’s explore what telepsychiatry really is.

Telepsychiatry delivers psychiatric assessment and care via telecommunications technology, typically video conferencing. This solution equips health systems across the nation with the tools to provide high-quality, accessible, and affordable mental healthcare to their patients. This approach has never been more critical as the demand for mental healthcare in the United States grows.

Telepsychiatry is transforming the way care is delivered. This solution allows hospitals and clinics in rural and underserved areas to recruit excellent providers and improve patient care while reducing and maintaining costs. So, where do healthcare organizations begin? It starts by asking three simple questions.

1. Why telepsychiatry?

Before you begin, determine why you need a telepsychiatry solution. Are you looking to add, maintain or grow psychiatric services? This answer will help you navigate to the right solution. A few things to consider:

  • Do you have psychiatrists but need a few more people to help with the patient load?
  • Is your health clinic located in a remote area where it’s hard to recruit or retain doctors?

Knowing whether your organization will use telepsychiatry to supplement in-person care or as the main vehicle to care is critical to determining your plan moving forward.

Next, determine which method will work best for your setting.

1. Are you planning to supplement current on-site psychiatric providers with a telepsychiatry provider? If so, you’ll need to determine how their workflows will mirror each other. You will also need to develop best practices for your care team’s communication.

2. Are you planning to exclusively use telepsychiatry in your organization? If so, then your on-site staff will need to be prepared to make small changes to the current workflow in order to integrate the remote provider and ensure your program is successful.

We have seen both approaches work successfully in various settings. Knowing which one you plan to use ahead of time is crucial.

2. What technology will you use to deliver telepsychiatry?

Take an assessment of any existing hardware and software that you can use for your telepsychiatry program. Regardless of your starting point, it doesn’t need to be complicated or require a significant up-front investment. Often, people already have equipment that can be repurposed for telepsychiatry, which often reduces the early fees of getting started. As far as software goes, telepsychiatrists will typically document into your existing EMR and use simple video conferencing platforms, like Skype for Business.

Even if you don’t have much equipment – or any equipment at all – startup fees are typically minimal. All you really need is a laptop with a high-quality camera and microphone, but knowing what you already have, and what you need, helps get the ball rolling.

3. How will you build your telepsychiatry program?

Once you’ve determined the “why” behind investing in telepsychiatry and have taken a scan of existing equipment that will help get you started, it’s time to figure out how you will build out your telepsychiatry program.

Key considerations

  • Will you keep your telepsychiatry program in-house?
  • Will you work with a telepsychiatry provider vendor?
  • Will you partner with a telepsychiatry provider services organization?
  • Do you have the know-how, equipment, and people to start a telepsychiatry department on your own?
  • Would you like the support, expertise, and assistance of an experienced telepsychiatry provider partner?

Many groups have the resources and infrastructure to start in-house telepsychiatry on their own. For other organizations, that’s simply not a desire, or even a reality. Picking a partner you can trust is essential. After all, they will be working with your patients and your staff. You want a partner that is a leading industry expert with the experience to be a true consultant, working alongside you every step of the way to develop and deliver a custom telepsychiatry solution.

Iris Telehealth has helped countless healthcare organizations across the country deliver high-quality, specialty care to their patients. If you’d like to learn more about how Iris can help implement a telepsychiatry solution at your organization, you can talk to an expert today.

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Telepsychiatry has evened the playing field for people in need of mental health help by providing psychiatric services, most often through video conferencing. This allows patients, no matter their location, to receive high-quality psychiatric care. The great thing about telepsych is that conducting an appointment virtually does not impact the quality of care received. There are very few differences between getting psychiatric care virtually and psychiatric care on-site.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S.’s ongoing shortage of psychiatrists, offering telepsychiatry services just isn’t going to be optional anymore. It’s now necessary that organizations and providers be able to treat patients virtually when on-site care isn’t possible.

Fortunately, the nationwide shift to telemedicine early in the pandemic has proven that there’s little to no difference between the quality of virtual psychiatric care and on-site psychiatric care. Telepsychiatry has made psychiatric services more accessible, affordable, and convenient than ever — for patients, providers, and healthcare organizations alike.

For organizations still debating whether to invest in virtual psychiatric care vs. on-site psychiatric care for their long-term care strategies, this piece will address four common questions you may have:

1. Is the length of treatment different for a virtual appointment?

There’s a huge misconception that there’s a difference in the level of care between a virtual psychiatric appointment and an on-site appointment. The truth is, a virtual appointment runs much the same way an on-site appointment does. There’s no difference in the length of treatment, the type of care, or how the provider conducts the appointment.

Just like in an on-site appointment, the patient will be connected directly with their provider (either in a healthcare organization or in their own home) for a private, confidential session. The provider will then conduct an in-depth evaluation and work with the patient towards a diagnosis and treatment plan that is specific to their needs. If patients require medication, a virtual psychiatrist can prescribe that as well — often through your organization’s existing system. Additionally, follow-up care will be set up as needed.

However, while the approach to care can be similar, the biggest advantage of using a telepsychiatry provider is expanding access to quality psychiatric treatment for people in rural and underserved areas.

2. Can a patient’s mental health condition impact the level of care they receive?

In almost all cases, patients can receive care virtually just as they would be on-site. However, sometimes the decision comes down to personal preference and availability. In some rare cases, a virtual appointment would not be ideal for patients who are in mechanical restraints, not willing to consent to receive mental health treatment virtually, or not able to conduct an appointment in a safe, private environment wherever they are located. In these scenarios, on-site treatment (if possible) is recommended.

Other than these few exceptions, a patient’s particular mental health condition does not impact their ability to receive adequate care virtually. At Iris Telehealth, we work with providers to ensure patients are safe, comfortable, and experience the highest level of care possible.

3. Do virtual and on-site psychiatric appointments have the same level of effectiveness for children and adults?

There is no major difference in patient outcomes or patient satisfaction for virtual care vs. on-site care. In a study published by The American Journal of Managed Care, 62.6% of patients and 59% of clinicians cited they did not see a difference in quality in a virtual visit compared to an on-site visit with most patients preferring virtual psychiatric visits. With the onset of the pandemic, adults and children have both been struggling to maintain their mental health while being isolated and dealing with day-to-day life. When an on-site appointment is not feasible, children and adults can seek psychiatric help virtually to get their mental health back on track.

4. What are the top concerns providers have with virtual appointments vs. on-site appointments?

Some providers have to overcome patient concerns around telepsychiatry because they’re worried about being recorded during their sessions. During the session, the provider will never record patients without telling them, and they must ensure they receive patient consent before conducting any appointments. Just like at an on-site appointment, providers will review everything patients need to know before the appointment and ensure they understand how everything will flow.

Providers also have to work through using technology to speak with their patients who may not be tech-savvy. When providers partner with Iris Telehealth or another telehealth vendor, they will be properly trained, educated, and given adequate support to address patient concerns and work through any technology fears patients may have.

Another concern providers have is whether they will have the same connection with their patients virtually as they would on-site. Most providers and patients find this answer to be a resounding yes! According to a study performed by APA, 82 percent of people tried virtual care due to the pandemic, and about half had a positive response to it. Fifty-nine percent say they would use it for a mental health concern in the future — and most patients who take advantage of virtual care report positive experiences and satisfaction.

How Iris Telehealth can help

Whether your organization chooses to implement virtual psychiatric care or on-site care, you can rest assured patients will receive the same level of care and treatment with both options. One is not inherently better than the other. However, telehealth makes mental health help available to more people across the U.S. and breaks down barriers to receiving help.

If you would like more information on how to implement telepsychiatry into your organization — or how it can help you meet the mental health needs of your community — contact us today.