How can telepsychiatry assist patients during a lockdown? That is a fascinating question as the effects of telepsychiatry will lead to its further development. Long championed is an ideal solution to the absence of healthcare providers in rural areas. Telemedicine has a sudden comprehensive implementation in many industries due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
How does telehealth help patients?
According to Kathleen T. Jordan, an infectious disease specialist and Chief Medical Officer at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, hospitals can now better prepare for a surge of patients into the emergency rooms and Intensive Care Units with the help of telemedicine, in addition to making it possible for patients to remain in homes to slow the spread of the virus. Because of its relative lack of physical contact compared to other specialties and reliance on conversation, experts have cited psychiatry as the 'perfect' specialty for care delivery via telemedicine. A large body of evidence, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders across various outpatient and inpatient settings, supports telepsychiatry's benefits in treating a wide range of conditions. Approximately 1 out of every five adults in the United States has a mental disorder, but only 41% of them receive the necessary treatment.
Telepsychiatry had become so well-integrated in the Emergency Departments (EDs) even before the emergence of COVID-19. Its usage by 90% surveyed in a study and represented the only form of emergency psychiatric service in 59% of the EDs in the United States. Clinicians at John Hopkins University, during the COVID-19 crisis, prescribed video consultations for the at-home management of patients with opioid use disorder. Experts predict that the fulfilled needs met via telepsychiatry will persist and increase over time. Harnessing this stage in interest, enthusiasm, and acceptance has received prompt recognition as an opportunity for the field. The psychiatric field's next steps will be most critical in ensuring digital health usage today to deliver the best care. During the current health crisis, it is prepared to support future turmoil and maintenance as usual and is ready for any resulting mental health spike following the immediate problem.
How much does telepsychiatry cost?
Providers who had not been using telemedicine before the pandemic have had to adapt to delivering care in this context quickly. When interviewed about adjusting to using telemedicine in light of COVID-19, experienced psychiatrists said that the sense of being there with the patients is different using telemedicine. It is since the two are no longer in the same physical space. However, they opined that this format's usage during the pandemic had been a welcome option to patients and practitioners. Other doctors were reasonably new to telemedicine, as the tools that were previously required by regulators were unwieldy and expensive. For them, it has been an adjustment with many technical difficulties. However, it is undoubtedly better than the massive reduction in access to care that the world would have been facing but for telemedicine.
How does telepsychiatry work?
Learning and having access to the needed technology are the main challenges involved in the implementation of telepsychiatry. One can use many public platforms during this time, and the current rules are much more lenient. However, privacy becomes an additional concern. There is also some doubt about whether your patient will have a private space to speak to you. Given their space limitations, will you be learning what they can comfortably share? Conducting an Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale Assessment (AIMS) with patients on antipsychotics is challenging when you cannot assist the patient. Another problematic issue is the potential isolation of the provider.
How does telemedicine help patients?
The benefits of telepsychiatry are that patients can receive it regardless of the weather. It has now eliminated all transport problems, parking fees, long commutes, and public transport. For practitioners, this modality can prove ideal if flexibility is what they need. Patients with mental or physical disabilities often require several people to read them and bring them to their appointments. It can be an expensive and time-consuming experience, not to mention disruptive to the patient's routine. Telemedicine helps eliminate some of these challenges. Doctors were uncomfortable because their patients endorsed crisis-level suicidality. The former did not choose to walk them right to the emergency room since they could hang up in a telemedicine session. However, there are immense benefits of telemedicine during this pandemic. The rate of suicides went up in the pandemic, as they also have during economic tumbles in general. Access to mental healthcare is now more critical than ever. Hence, this is how telepsychiatry assists patients during a lockdown.