Online Psychiatric Care – Just Like the Patients Want It

HBI Blog / Online Psychiatric Care – Just Like the Patients Want It

It was merely a year ago when Michigan Medicine psychiatrists were trying to recruit patients for telepsychiatry. It was not so successful back then. Over 6 months, they were able to conduct only 26 video calls, whereas 30,000 in-person visits occurred during that time. However, the scenario took no time to change as the pandemic hit the world.

As of now, more and more patients are seeking help with their mental health issues and are working on their emotions and experiences via phone or video for months. More importantly, most of them are feeling that psychiatry should stay this way.

Online Psychiatric Care

Telepsychiatry proved to be an interesting tool for several reasons. From providing early access to care to connect patients in rural areas, living far away from clinics, for better evidence-based care, online psychiatric care has gained massive popularity.

Even for patients who live closer to the clinics, there might be various problems with in-person visits that can be eliminated by telepsychiatry.

In summer 2020, research was done surveying 244 patients or parents of minor patients. All of them had appointments for a psychiatric clinic during the first weeks of the pandemic lockdown. Most of them reported having opted for video appointments. Around 13.5 percent of them, who were more than 45 years old, opted for phone visits. Nearly all of them reported their telepsychiatry visits to be as expected or even better than in-person visits.

46.7 percent of the people are likely to continue with telepsychiatry even after in-person visits are available again.

According to the researchers, apart from getting a better level of convenience than in-person visits, telepsychiatry has other benefits too. It was found that issues including no-shows or appointment cancellation have reduced substantially, according to Michigan Medicine.

However, certain issues need to be addressed. The patients need to understand the online platform, have internet accessibility, and adequate privacy at their home for an effective telepsychiatry appointment.

In the upcoming days, if the above issues are resolved, telepsychiatry might prove to be a gift not only to the patients but also to relatively smaller mental health practices.

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