Telepsychiatry Software For Boosting Mental Health
Telepsychiatry is when psychiatrists use telecommunications technology to provide a range of psychiatric services remotely to their patients. The use of telehealth software allows psychiatrists to diagnose and assess individual patients. They allow psychiatrists to conduct individual or group therapy sessions, prescribe medication, or provide any service they could do in person.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine in general was becoming more common but was almost limited to telephone conferences. Due to the pandemic stay-at-home orders and the risk of infection that comes with patients waiting in crowded waiting rooms, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relaxed privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HHS now allows health care providers to use remote communication technology to provide telehealth services to patients in lieu of personal visits.
Some telemedicine psychiatry software vendors agreed to adapt their software programs in ways that could provide HIPAA compliant software for this purpose. For example, Skype is a popular platform that allows family members and friends to video-conference when they are unable to meet in person. At the beginning of the pandemic, HHS allowed health the use of Skype for healthcare professionals. Skype is one of the safe, secure and HIPAA compliant video-conferencing vendor.
The compliance for some of these platforms was not very robust and suitable to a psychiatrists’ workflow. So having software created specifically for telepsychiatry ensures HIPAA compliance and customized workflow. CareTime MD is one such software that supports you need.
Features of CareTime MD Software
Telepsychiatry platforms must offer more than just a way for psychiatrists and patients to connect online for a chat. CareTime MD provides software created specifically for telepsychiatry. When compared with other similar software, it has the following features that make it the one that meets the needs for telepsychiatry.
- Cost. The cost of the software is a major consideration. On the other hand, you need to choose the features you need for the way you plan to work. Times is money. You do not want to spend time trying to make a cheaper system work. The cheapest is not always the best. Checkout CareTime MD telehealth platform cost.
- Integration. You need a system that integrates your current software programs with the new software, especially your current EHR and administrative solutions. CareTime MD meets this need.
- User-friendly. A telepsychiatry software system must be user-friendly and come with a robust training program for you and your staff. If the software you choose is not user-friendly, you and your staff will likely not use it.
- HIPAA compliance. The penalties for not being HIPAA compliant are steep. A HIPAA compliant software allows secure communication with your patients, other health care providers, and pharmacies without the fear of violating HIPAA’s privacy requirements.
- Robust reporting. Analytics and reporting options are necessary so you can track whether your patients understood and appreciated the telemedicine features. You can discover what is working and what is not so you can make changes that will increase the efficiency of your telepsychiatry practice.
Telepsychiatry Software Benefits Medical Practitioners and Patients
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in the U.S. there are currently more than 51.5 million adults with mental health issues. This does not include undiagnosed adults or children.
Meanwhile, there is a shortage of psychiatrists to meet the needs of those who require mental health services. The increased demand for telepsychiatry allows patients to connect with their mental health professionals anytime, anywhere.
Some tangible benefits of telehealth software include:
Convenience – Patients speak with their psychiatrists in the same way they do when they have in-person visits. Patients sit in their own homes, which makes it less likely they will skip appointments. They cannot claim there is too much traffic or there is a problem with public transportation.
Telepsychiatry is also an ideal way for patients who live in remote areas to get the care they need. They can avoid making a long road trip just to keep their appointment.
Patients with mobility issues also benefit greatly from telepsychiatry. They can get the treatment they need in the comfort of their own home.
Flexibility – Telepsychiatry makes it more convenient for patients to make appointment during times that meet their needs. Psychiatrist makes flexible appointment schedules for patients working during unusual hours. This is not possible in a traditional brick and mortar location with 9 to 5 timing.
Useful during an emergency – Telepsychiatry plays a major role in providing emergency mental health consultations. Psychiatrists use telepsychiatry to intercede with any mental health crisis. Using unique software, the psychiatrist can remotely provide the urgent treatment required. Psychiatrists can share being on call for telepsychiatry the same way they share call duties in traditional settings.
Forensic telepsychiatry. After the assessment, prisoners receive treatment through regular telepsychiatry appointments. This in-house treatment of patients amounts to substantial savings for the prison facilities when compared to taking them off-site. Also, check out the top benefits of telehealth for patients and doctors
**Bridges geographical boundaries -**There are geographical locations that suffer greatly from a lack of psychiatrists and therefore, a lack of treatment for those in need. In understaffed places, like rural areas, psychiatrists can outsource treatment for their patients through telepsychiatry to physicians in distant locations.
Telepsychiatry and Reimbursement
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “State Medicaid policies, rules, and laws are evolving.” Now, 48 state Medicaid programs pay for at least some telepsychiatry services. Medicare pays for telehealth services including payment for psychotherapy “using interactive 2-way real-time audio and video technology.”
The APA notes that many private insurances pay for telehealth services. Psychiatrists are advised to check with their state about insurance reimbursement to determine the coverage for telehealth services. The Affordable Care Act mandates that health insurance companies pay for telemedicine, psychiatry included.
Related Article – Your Quick Guide for Telemedicine Reimbursements