Telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare via technology. Typically in behavioral health we’re referring to live interactive audio-visual communication by video conference.
Telepsychiatry is the delivery of behavioral health services over secure video conference. The kinds of services that can be done are general psychiatric services, including assessment, diagnosis, medication management and psychotherapeutic counseling services.
It’s similar to Skype, but Skype is a consumer-grade video conference and telemedicine must be done over a HIPAA-secure platform to protect a patient’s privacy.
What are the general differences between a traditional office-based appointments for psychiatry and telepsychiatry?
In some ways there’s very little difference with established face‑to‑face communication over technology. It’s the same as if we were sitting across the room from one another. The real difference is that via technology we’re able to reach patients at a distance, especially if they are able to communicate with people who might not otherwise have access or people who live distances, uh, will be able to receive services that otherwise they may have to drive several hours to, uh, to obtain.
In terms of stigma is it improving, that aspect of it at all?
Yes, actually it’s very interesting. If you look at the literature about tele behavioral health, one, is you find that the effectiveness of care is equivalent to what would be measured face to face. Consumer acceptance and satisfaction with telepsychiatry is very strong and I think one of the other things, uh, about behavioral is that people can choose practitioners, for example I see clients from small communities who are, they, they sometimes in professional communities and they have a limited pool of practitioners available to them, uh, and they are in, perhaps, the same social circles as practitioners in the community so to be able to choose a practitioner who lives distantly and conducts their patient care in private, uh, is **** and
I think there is also a bit of a comfortable distance, uh, in, in that face‑to‑face encounter over technology, uh, that seems to be **** the data from young kids through seniors really established a very, uh, strong comfort level that with use of technology for conducting behavioral health services.
is it growing in, in, popularity?
Yes, very much so. The technology has advanced **** so much easier and less extensive to create a good patient care quality video link uh, whether it’s over a full‑fledged, uh, you know, **** grade cameras or over, uh, a HIPAA secure laptop via a web cam, uh, the, uh, cost and the availability **** equipment is there.
There are a lot of different platforms that are available for delivering behavioral health services over technology, uh, and consumers are much more, uh, likely, uh, because they are using technology in so many aspects of their life to, uh, seek out and be comfortable with patient care of the ****.