Category: Mental Health

Telehealth Usage and Coverage Continues to Increase Throughout the US

E-Health Computer Mouse Concept

Telehealth coverage and usage is continuing to make strides forward. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that currently 60% of all healthcare institutions and about 45% of all hospitals are using telehealth in one way or another. This increased usage correlates with the goal of improving patient care, improving the health of the overall population, reducing healthcare costs and the physician shortage the US is currently facing.

A large number of healthcare providers have reported using telehealth services to bridge the gaps in health care. Geisinger Health System, the Veterans Health Administration, Partners HealthCare and many more have implemented telehealthcare into their care systems. Telehealthcare has helped deal with provider shortages as well as improve the patient’s overall experience. This form of care allows for extended care hours, reduces patient travel time and improves accessibility to healthcare.

Currently 31 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place which require commercial health insurers to provide equal coverage for in-person and telehealth services. 49 states cover telemental health services, and 36 cover various other telehealth services. Legislation is continuing to support the implementation of telehealth which could be a saving grace for the US healthcare system.

Legislators are not the only ones jumping onto this telehealth bandwagon. The National Business Group on Health predicts that almost all employers with cover telehealth services by 2020. Now as this field continues to grow questions come up on the effectiveness of telehealthcare vs in person visits, and how will this be integrated into the clinical workflow?

These questions are yet to be fully answered, however the evidence provided so far has shown telehealth has been largely effective. With the emergence of this field there will need to be continued research and innovation in order to successfully integrate telehealth into the care system.

With that said telehealth continues to be a promising tool for the future of healthcare. If you would like to learn more about the world of telehealth and how you can join this community check out our website and other blog posts.

 

Telehealth Platforms Are Moving Telepsychiatry Forward

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Telepsychiatry has started forming its own healthcare niche. In 1995, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a paper in support of telepsychiatry, explaining how it can overcome geographical limitations, provide greater access to care, and cut out travel time. For over 20 years there has been talk of implementing telepsychiatry into the mental health sector, however the pace of implementation has recently picked up.

James Varrell MD a licensed psychiatrist started working in telepsychiatry in 1999 and now oversees more than 200 psychiatrists at InSight. Throughout his time in the field Varrell has seen a growing need to expand the practice of telepsychiatry. As the provider shortage continues in the US, more and more people are lacking access to healthcare. Currently 55% of US counties are without any psychiatrists according to Kaiser Telepsychiatry can help provide mental healthcare access to those counties.

Varrell has found telepsychiatry to be effective in most realms of mental healthcare, from working in the ER with people in crisis, to working with translators remotely, to having increased volume devices for the elderly or hard of hearing. Telehealth allows for all types of people to connect from nearly anywhere anytime and receive the accommodations they need.

Everyday more and more psychiatrists and healthcare providers are joining the telehealth sector. With the shortage of healthcare providers continuing in the US, telehealth technology will greatly improve people’s access to care and increase the regions through which providers can connect with clients.

Some believe that physical healthcare services cannot be provided adequately through a virtual interface. While this may be true for some fields of medicine, psychiatrists are not encourage to touch clients in the first place. Meaning telepsychiatry is truly a great option for them to connect with their clients and perform all general psychiatric care needs.

If you are interested in entering the world of telepsychiatry check out our website to learn how you can join for free! Clocktree is a great platform for mental health providers and is 100% HIPAA compliant. Good luck with your first steps toward a virtual practice!