Telepsychiatry Companies

Tag Archives: Telepsychiatry Resources

Today, many traditional care models remain siloed and fall short of whole-person-centered care that addresses both behavioral and physical health conditions – and how they impact each other. Emerging healthcare models, including virtual care and the expansion of digital health tools, seek to integrate value, quality, and access while keeping the patient journey and experience top-of-mind.

In this piece, I’ll share insights on why Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) is central to patient and provider satisfaction, the potential challenges and benefits of this approach, and what BHI looks like in practice.

The role of behavioral health in primary care

Behavioral health factors have a strong influence on patient morbidity and mortality.

In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, as many as 75% of primary care visits include mental or behavioral health components. And, 67% of adults with a behavioral health condition do not receive appropriate treatment.

In the face of nationwide psychiatrist shortages, primary care providers (PCPs) are often positioned as the first-line of behavioral health care for their patients. However, while PCPs often want to know more about behavioral health and how to care for their patients, they don’t always have the time or specialization to treat more complex cases.

That’s because treating a behavioral health condition doesn’t always have a clear or obvious path for medication and treatment. However, by leveraging a virtual behavioral health solution, PCPs can ensure their patients are getting the help they need and healthcare organizations can ensure financially sustainable delivery of behavioral health services.

The financial benefits of Behavioral Health Integration

According to a Briefing Series on the Role of Psychology in Health Care by the American Psychological Association, the interconnection of behavioral health and physical health can have a profound impact on total cost of care:

  • Behavioral health conditions like anxiety and depression can worsen chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Research shows treatment of behavioral health conditions in primary care settings offset costs by 20-40%. 
  • Research also shows fewer hospitalizations that result in significant cost reductions for patients with comorbidities and improvement in treatment adherence, translating to $105 billion in annual avoidable health care costs.

To add to these numbers, in a behavioral health analysis by Evernorth Health Services, treating behavioral health conditions in outpatient care is directly tied with a reduction in medical and pharmacy costs — with savings up to $2,565 per person over 15 months following a diagnosis and up to $3,321 per person over 27 months following a diagnosis.

These numbers show us that primary care providers shouldn’t face the burden of providing behavioral health services alone. And they don’t have to. With the help of a behavioral health specialist, their organizations can generate savings and their patients can experience superior outcomes.

Challenges and solutions organizations may face when implementing collaborative care

While behavioral health integration delivers clear benefits for your patients, care team, and PCPs, achieving it isn’t without its challenges. Some of the most common challenges we’ve heard from healthcare organizations include:

  1. Long wait times for behavioral health providers: Providing timely access to care for mid-to-high acuity behavioral health conditions can be challenging. For example, if a patient needs medication management from a psychiatrist, wait times can often be too long. However, if a provider is integrated into a practice, seeing a SUD therapist, for example, may be quicker.
  2. Greater level of assessment required: While PCPs take on the majority of behavioral health patients, sometimes the level of assessment is greater than what they can provide. While there’s no easy button, integrated care, even at a small level, can get the ball rolling.
  3. Relying entirely on in-person care: In-person care is still the gold standard of care. However, by trying to rely on in-person care models alone, it can be challenging to get the right resources, at the right time, in a financially scalable way. Many organizations face insurmountable challenges recruiting onsite providers for some of their rural and urban settings. Virtual care transcends city, county, and state barriers, so patients have access to care regardless of location.
  4. Triage and care navigation challenges: These approaches can be a challenge and lead to too much responsibility for the primary care provider. Primary care providers need help from the right behavioral health specialists for their most complex patients, and they need it in a timely manner. Partnering with virtual care providers in the navigation process can take additional burdens off patients and PCPs.

How Bridge Care Services Enables Behavioral Health Integration

For health systems looking to implement integrated behavioral health services, Bridge Care Services ensures the patients who need care first get care first – while being efficiently directed to an appropriate care plan.

Bridge Care Services leverages virtual care and an evidence-based care model to ensure patients that need escalation from primary care receive timely access to high-quality behavioral care, including therapy, medication management, or both.

This approach fills gaps in ambulatory and post-acute behavioral health care for patients, helping health systems achieve measurement-based outcomes and optimizing reimbursement for a financially sustainable behavioral health program. 

With Bridge Care Services, the pathway begins with a billable biopsychosocial needs assessment delivered by a licensed therapy provider within seven days of a patient’s discharge. The provider then determines the appropriate behavioral health specialist to manage the patient’s care needs with counseling, medication management, or both.

The care navigation and therapeutic support from this approach alleviate the burden on the health system’s resources using a cost-effective process that closes referrals to specialists sooner and returns patients to community providers when available.

Behavioral Health Integration at Iris Telehealth

The demand for virtual behavioral health services will continue to grow, fueled by patient needs, psychiatrist shortages, and the emphasis on integrated care.

Providers who embrace these services will not only improve the timeliness of the behavioral health care they deliver, the health of their patients, and their own work satisfaction, but will also ensure their viability in a new world of consumer-centric healthcare.

If you’d like to learn more about Iris Telehealth and how can help your health care organization implement Behavioral Health Integration into your practice, feel free to reach out 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 make psychiatric care more accessible, effective, and patient-centered.

The benefits of virtual care for patients are significant. In fact, a study by the American Medical Association demonstrated 79% patient satisfaction with telehealth. For patients, virtual care opens up access to behavioral health services, 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 virtual care boosts patient satisfaction. 

State of virtual behavioral health care

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 virtual care 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 virtual care as an option.

At Iris, our clinicians have a similar experience with patient satisfaction. Dr. Kavita Vasu, one of our psychiatrists, says virtual care gives her patients flexibility, allowing them to access care from wherever they are – whether at home or work. Dr. Vasu also notes that no-show rates are significantly lower.

Additionally, research shows that virtual care 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 – patient satisfaction with virtual care 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.

Virtual care reaches those who need care most

In a database released by the Health Resources & Services Administration, numbers show that 157 million people live in a mental health professional shortage area (HPSA). Virtual care 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 virtual care 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 in October 2021. With virtual care, 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. Virtual care 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, virtual care 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 virtual care boosts patient satisfaction in the ED

In the emergency department (ED), virtual care 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 virtual care, 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

Over the last several years, it’s become clear that telehealth is here to stay. According to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly 60% of Americans would use telehealth for mental healthcare, and 43% currently want to continue using telehealth services when the pandemic is over.

With that data — and telehealth’s ability to expand access to high-quality providers — it’s no surprise that organizations are thinking through how to start a telemental health practice and leverage it as a long-term solution.

But, if your organization is wondering how to build a telepsychiatry practice in-house, you should consider some important first steps, limitations, and potential alternatives (like formal behavioral health vendor partnerships).

1. Building a telehealth program in-house won’t solve any recruitment challenges

As a medical group dedicated to providing virtual care services to healthcare organizations across the country, Iris Telehealth has access to a provider pool that spans all 50 states. However, individual organizations just starting to transition to telehealth as a long-term solution will likely be limited to the same provider pool they’d use for in-person providers.

And that’s not the only challenge you might encounter. For example, if you have an in-person provider who you think might transition to telehealth on a full-time or part-time basis, they may decide they don’t like telepsychiatry after all. Or they may get scooped up by another organization because they’re not limited by geographical location anymore.

At Iris, however, we not only assess their clinical skills, but their technical skills and screen presence as well. We have an intensive vetting process to make sure telepsychiatry is a good fit for that individual provider.

2. A formal telehealth program requires specific technological considerations

As you’re learning how to start a telepsychiatry practice in-house, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we have the right video platform?
  • Do we have the right security in place (i.e. VPNs)?
  • Will our platform work for our current staff and patients?
  • Is our program HIPAA compliant?
  • Do we have sufficient IT support for handling technological difficulties or glitches?

If you’re uncertain about the answers to any of these questions, a vendor partner like Iris Telehealth might benefit you and your team as you navigate this process. (And, even if we’re not an official partner of yours, we’d be happy to talk through your needs with you.)

3. The telehealth landscape is constantly changing (and may be hard to navigate on your own)

Policies in the behavioral health space continue to evolve. Whether it’s around HIPAA compliance, reimbursements for audio-only appointments, or billing and coding — things continue to change as more states pass legislation that permanently expands telehealth services.

It can be challenging to stay on top of all the relevant changes as just one healthcare organization. No matter your size or approach to telehealth, the organization needed to manage telehealth-specific policies will likely be a big lift for your team.

That’s where a vendor partner may come in handy to offer perspectives on how similar organizations are navigating this space right now.

4. You’ll need dedicated, telehealth-specific policies for your providers

There’s a lot of information and “what ifs” to consider if you’re trying to build your own telehealth program.

Here are just a few of the policies you might want to put into place:

  • A standard 90-day grace period for providers leaving your organization. If you don’t tell your provider when they start that they have to give you 90 days’ notice, you may not have time to find a replacement provider when they leave. 90-day policies protect clinics, providers, and patients.
  • A strong policy around computer usage. You don’t want someone accidentally putting a virus on your network if they’re using their computer for other things or are engaging with spammy content.
  • No-show policies and policies for telehealth, specifically around remote patients (not in your clinic).
  • Policies around when the telehealth provider should end a session or not have a session with a particular patient.
  • A billing policy for patients who show up late to appointments.
  • Standard prescribing rules and protocols.

5. Your EMR may not be set up for behavioral health or telehealth right now

If you’re determined to build your telehealth program in-house, the first thing you need to look at is the capabilities and limitations of your EMR.

Make sure you have it set up for behavioral health before you do anything else. A common mistake organizations (particularly FQHCs and CHCs beginning psych services for the first time) make is trying to run their virtual behavioral health program the same way they run their primary care. When that happens, they often end up overbooking providers. But behavioral health is a different paradigm.

Remember, ideally, you want your EMR to be able to encompass your scheduling, patient records, e-prescribing, and video in one system.

A formal behavioral health partner could help support you and your organization

One of the unique benefits of telepsychiatry and a partnership with Iris is our Clinical Operations Managers (COMs). We’re a concierge service whose number one goal is making sure you and your patients are getting the care and support you need. If, for example, there’s a scheduling issue or a provider conflict we can help resolve it using solutions we have seen and used at clinics across the country.

Every day, we help mediate and advocate for clinics and clinicians to ensure there’s efficient and effective patient care.

Here’s what that would mean for your organization:

  • Our 24/7 IT support can interface with your organization’s IT to solve problems and can often independently solve them for our providers.
  • We have support for billing and scheduling issues.
  • We are Joint Commission accredited — which means we can assist with provider credentialing and paneling (we have some partners who do credentialing by proxy with us).
  • We match your organization with a top-quality provider who specializes in the areas you need (and who we’ve already vetted to ensure virtual care is a good fit for them).
  • After we’ve matched a provider with your organization, we help make sure they have the right technology and that the doctor knows what they need to know to evaluate your patients.
  • We assume all of the expenses of the benefits and PTO.
  • We are a true partner dedicated to long-term care and service. We make sure our providers are an extension of your team and do everything in our power to ensure continuity of care for your patients.

Whether you’re interested in learning how to make your own program a success or creating a formal partnership with Iris, we’re here to help. Contact us today to get the conversation started.

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

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.