Telepsychiatry is the delivery of psychiatric treatment remotely, using live video on a desktop, tablet, or smart phone. Telepsychiatry has been approved by the American Psychiatric Association, and a growing body of research data clearly demonstrates that psychiatric treatment via telemedicine can be as effective as when delivered during traditional outpatient appointments.
Tele-psychiatry is a mental health service that is private, convenient, effective, and meets the standard of care for traditional outpatient appointments – without the hassle of driving, parking, and waiting rooms.
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, and medication management. 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 will be able to receive services that otherwise they may have to drive several hours to obtain.
In terms of stigma is it improving?
Yes, actually it’s very interesting. If you look at the literature about tele behavioral health, 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.
Is it growing 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 whether it’s over a full‑fledged cameras or over a HIPAA secure laptop via a web cam. There are a lot of different platforms that are available for delivering behavioral health services over technology and consumers are much more likely because they are using technology in so many aspects of their life to seek out and be comfortable with patient care.