Telepsychiatry: The Convenient Online Psychiatrist – The rise of telemedicine means no more missed appointments or neglected prescriptions. It’s not too surprising: these days shopping happens on a laptop. Handheld devices are more useful than any Star Trek gadget could have predicted. When it comes to mental health, modern technology allows us to communicate with our doctors from home and even have medications delivered as needed. We can finally see our own convenient online psychiatrist.

So what is telemedicine? Essentially it is medical care over video conferencing similar to Skype. Except instead of Skype doctors use regulated software to secure patients’ privacy. With the oversight of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), encrypted programs allow for total confidentiality. (Previous HIPAA Article)

Telemedicine’s history was a gradual development. As far back as 1925 doctors and patients in rural Australia connected via two-way radio. By 1967 one of the first American practices started, remotely helping over 1,000 patients in Massachusetts. Soon many more doctors were consulting via telephone. Fast forward to now, and video conferencing seems the next logical and most effective step.

When psychiatry moves to telemedicine the practice is referred to as “telepsychiatry.”

Traffic, parking, waiting rooms, pharmacies. They all add up and suddenly that vital psychiatric appointment doesn’t feel so vital anymore. Perhaps a few days off the meds seems doable. But this is a mistake… Of course a broken leg warrants immediate medical attention. Same with most bodily diseases. We instantly recoil from physical pain – but festering or latent mental illness can trigger profound life problems.

Telepsychiatry erases most obstacles to treatment. Interruption of schedule is minimized. With telepsychiatry even the busiest individual can get expedient quality treatment. Like a mental health urgent care clinic, patients make an appointment and are seen within a week. A doctor can send prescriptions during the appointment and within reasonable time they are delivered to one’s home or workplace.

Studies show good efficacy for telepsychiatry. The video-conference medium, with its comfort and ease, helps people comply with treatment. In a few cases telepsychiatry was actually preferred to in-person appointments. Speaking with distant patients through video feed helps doctors accurately assess and diagnose an illness as if they are in the same room. Then they administer treatment in this way, prescribing medications and providing psycho-therapy as needed. Psycho-therapy can be administered through video-conference as well.

A new Florida law, HB 23, was passed this year making it easier to access telemedicine. For example a patient in Gainesville will no longer have to meet face-to-face with a Miami doctor in order to receive their telehealth care service. This development opens a new chapter in mental health treatment. More people than ever can get help without sacrificing an irreplaceable chunk of their day. Why commute when everything else is at our fingertips?

If you or a loved one are in need of mental health care, visit the link below to schedule an online appointment with your “convenient online psychiatrist” Bregman Medical Group at:

https://www.bregmanmd.com/telepsychiatry/

Note: For assistance with behavioral health issues, contact us at 305-740-3340 or schedule an appointment with BregmanMD.

References:

Ferrante, T., Lacktman, N. (2019, May). Florida Legislature Passes New Telehealth Law. Foley, Foley, & Lardner LLP: Health Care Law Today. Retrieved on June 1, 2019 from https://www.foley.com/en/insights/blogs/health-care-law-today

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, May 23). Telemedicine. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:52, June 4, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Telemedicine&oldid=898372672

World Health Organization. (2010) Telemedicine: Opportunities and development in Member states. Retrieved on May 31, 2019 from https://www.who.int/goe/publications/goe_telemedicine_2010.pdf

Telepsychiatry: The Convenient Online Psychiatrist