Mental Healthcare is still struggling with some critical issues. And with the pandemic, care delivery to mental health patients became difficult. However, telehealth in mental health care is changing the dynamic of therapy. In behavioural care, telehealth solutions offer multiple benefits to all entities involved in care delivery. Today, telehealth in mental health care is also known as tele behavioural health, telepsychiatry, tele mental health care, or telepsychology.
Mental health experts highlight shortage of professionals and lack of access to treatment are potential concerns growing exponentially. The stigma around mental health issues, lack of adequate knowledge about mental health conditions also impacts mental health care. However, telehealth in mental health care is the silver lining. Today, it’s making treatment available to patients using different mediums. Mental healthcare providers are adopting telehealth psychotherapy to bridge the gaps in delivering treatments. A recent survey highlighted that nearly 72 percent of respondents suffering from mental health conditions are willing to go for telehealth instead of offline visits. So, the adoption of telehealth in mental health care can also boost providers’ patient engagement systems.
Behavioral health providers with integrated healthcare solutions mostly use advanced telehealth solutions. Besides, many providers also offer app-based services to ensure convenience to patients. Read further to know how telehealth in mental health care operates.
How Telehealth in Mental Healthcare Works?
Like general telehealth solutions, telemental health care or telepsychiatry includes video calling or audio conferencing, 24/7 ER chat, medication management, and Rx refills. The mental health app development team is designed to cater to the varied needs of mental health patients. From video therapy sessions to patient assessments and more, telehealth in mental health operates in multiple ways. However, in telehealth in new normal behavioral healthcare, providers must ensure accurate electronic data exchange to help professionals collect and share patient data for making care decisions. Besides, you can also integrate electronic health records with telehealth software to increase the efficiency of treatments.
Telehealth in mental health functions under three categories- individual, group, and substance use disorder therapies. While individual therapy sessions offer one-on-one therapy, group therapy provides complete support to help patients overcome the feeling of isolation. Both these therapies are conducted either online or through some digital tools. On the other hand, SUD therapies are dedicated to helping patients overcome their drug addiction. This therapy encircles tele-behavioral sessions throughout support to help individuals tackle their addiction.
Potential Barriers in Tele-Psychiatry
Telehealth in mental health or telepsychiatry implementation is increasing but still, some healthcare management face barriers. Here are some of the common barriers affecting tele behavioral health.
1. Lack of resources-
Implementing tech solutions requires adequate resources in any practice management. And mental health app development is also possible with the right help. From experienced behavioral health professionals to IT support, elemental healthcare need these to ensure better outcomes. Moreover, even patients face this barrier, as not all patients have access to digital tools. So, considering this aspect before implementing tele mental health is necessary.
2. Absence of Emotional Connect-
One of the major roadblocks in using telehealth in mental health care is the absence of emotional connection. In behavioral healthcare, empathy and emotional connection between the professional and patient are essential. And in tele behavioral health, patients are skeptical about this aspect. However, the professionals can ensure this aspect during their sessions. Besides, psycho-professionals can use medical records management to study the patient’s case before the therapy. This will help them to understand and connect with the patient better.
3. Lack of Training-
Using telehealth software solutions requires minimum training and knowledge. But if mental health professionals aren’t tech-savvy enough, then delivering therapy via digital tools is challenging. So, providers need to ensure proper training to therapists and other professionals before assigned online sessions.
4. Financial Constraints-
Another major barrier in telehealth in mental health is financial constraints. Some providers find implementation costs too high. However, providers can still overcome financial constraints with telemental health solutions. Telehealth solutions in mental healthcare ensure better savings and increased ROI too.
With the increasing adoption of telehealth solutions, mental health providers Reimbursement issues are a growing concern. However, tele mental health reimbursements issues can be resolved with the right strategies and solutions. Providers can use healthcare automation or medical informatics to boost the reimbursement processes.
Key Benefits of Telehealth in Mental Healthcare
If you want to adopt telemental health solutions, you can use cloud computing in healthcare. Telemental health apps based on cloud solutions are more effective and ensure data security. Besides, virtual mental healthcare solutions offer multi-fold benefits to patients, psychiatrists, and mental health centers.
- Effective patient outcomes- For psychiatrists, ensuring patients’ outcomes is the most significant aspect of their service. And with telehealth solutions, psychiatrists can constantly monitor their patients and support them throughout their journey. This consistent monitoring of patients enhances the treatment process, boosting patient outcomes and their experience. Moreover, the professionals can also improve population health management with telehealth monitoring.
- Less work burden and more flexibility- With improved patient outcomes, tele mental health also offers more flexibility to psychiatrists. This enables psychiatrists to access more varied patients and deliver care without exhausting themselves.
- More savings- On average, patients opting for tele mental health saves approximately $156 in travel costs. So, with telehealth solutions, patients save time and money both—no need to travel miles to visit the doctor, as telehealth solutions bring therapy to your home.
- Varied options of behavioral specialists- Every mental health condition is different. Patients require options when choosing their specialists. Moreover, some patients don’t get access to any specialists. So, here telemental health comes to the rescue. It offers a variety of specialists and even allows patients to choose that specialist who supports their patients emotionally.
- Convenience and confidentiality- Technology in telepsychiatry has improved access to care. So, patients can consult a psychiatrist whenever they want, moreover, just like offline sessions, where patients’ information is confidential. Similarly, in telemental health, providers ensure complete confidentiality of patients’ information.
For Mental Health centers
- Reduced spending- With telehealth solutions, mental health centers can minimize direct and indirect spending. From providers’ time, medical supplies to administrative support, the mental healthcare centers incur massive costs. So, telemental health is the ideal solution to control spending.
- Streamlined work- Integrated telehealth solutions in mental health care boosts workflow. Telehealth solutions offer more flexibility in work and reduce their administrative burden. All workflows are streamlined, and professionals can entirely focus on patients’ care. Moreover, professionals can use healthcare interoperability to enhance their workflows and data management.
Telehealth Trends In Mental Healthcare Sector to Look Out for in 2023
With the lockdown and the spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., telehealth in mental healthcare sectors saw a sharp rise. Given the pressing demand for online therapy options, telehealth is being accepted by providers more and more quickly. However, telehealth usage has stabilized as access to in-person care has become more widespread. Several providers of mental health services no longer see the need to give options for virtual care. But still, a huge percentage of mental health organizations are readily adopting and leveraging telehealth services for mental health conditions.
If made permanent, the regulatory flexibilities put in place during the epidemic can guarantee the long-term usage of telemedicine solutions for mental health care services. Congress is now considering several legislations, including one approved by the House in July 2022, to establish access to telehealth solutions firmly. The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act that would commence in 2024 is expected to permit virtual mental health services delivery for up to six months without an in-person visit.
Previously, telehealth trends for mental health were mainly focused on delivering personalized and easy-to-access care that can tackle the impacts of the pandemic. However, telehealth trends will shift this year to cope with new challenges like accessibility, scalability, and efficacy issues. Leaders will continue to invest in telehealth solutions to create a complex, patient-centered blended care model that incorporates a wide range of behavioral health offers and analytical tools to battle the most prevalent mental health illnesses.
1. Predictive Analytics
Analyzing data has always helped us better comprehend the world around us. Mental health leaders can design policies that benefit staff members by incorporating clinical evidence, real-world data, and patient opinions during mental health assessments. Besides, new analytics models will need to look at historical and other patient data to foresee and proactively create future projections. So, predictive analytics will continue to play a larger role in enhancing behavioral health policies. Future models incorporate large amounts of data to forecast an individual’s response to particular treatments, their likelihood of contracting a specific disease, and their prognosis for a particular condition. Moreover, these predictive models will assist in determining where the most efficient and timely investments should be made to ensure the best delivery of telehealthcare.
2. Community-based behavioral care
Telehealth providers are expanding their mental health offerings to address social health challenges due to the stigma associated with mental illness. The prevention of mental illness and issues with social well-being is only one aspect of social health. Online communities are one of the most revolutionary aspects of the digital health sector. These communities are useful places where patients may get peer support as they progress toward recovery in telehealth. Several studies have revealed that people resort to online health communities for support, social and emotional connection, and validation.
By creating or connecting interactive communities into their current services, telehealth providers will continue to cater to people’s desire for compassion, validation, and social and emotional connections in 2023.
3. A Combination of In-Person and Digital Consultation (hybrid)
Organizations seek innovative and creative delivery models and a combined care management strategy to improve access to affordable, immediate, and effective mental health support. Due to the significant wait time, cost, and stigma barriers to effective mental healthcare, these innovative strategies must meet everyone’s needs. So, the hybrid strategy, known as the “Stepped Care Model,” is the best. This hybrid model combines a variety of traditional and cutting-edge digital mental health interventions, such as advanced telehealth solutions, to systematically identify care alternatives for individuals at the appropriate time with the correct therapy. It adopts a more adaptable, patient-centric approach to mental health. Instead of focusing solely on a person’s diagnosis or symptom intensity, the model prioritizes triaging people based on their therapy history, condition, preferences, functioning, and readiness to engage in therapy.
4. Emphasis on Behavioral Health
The foundation of mental health trends after 2021 is behavioral health support, which will be crucial in highlighting the connections between mental and behavioral health. Behavioral health, also a part of mental health, examines how actions affect a person’s physical and mental health. To support the new delivery models required within the behavioral health ecosystem, a range of disruptive technologies are already starting to emerge. These include virtual assistants, diagnostic support, and digital consumer experience technologies like integrated telehealth solutions. Besides, behavioral health support will be a go-to intervention to assist people in understanding their mental health and use that self-awareness to develop strategies and tools to manage it effectively without developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. And CBT is a crucial therapeutic strategy for assisting staff in developing the mental health resilience required to manage everyday stress, anxiety, and depression.
Telehealth in mental healthcare is gaining momentum due to multiple barriers in mental healthcare accessibility. If you want to adopt telehealth solutions for your mental healthcare center, you opt for custom healthcare solutions. Also, ensure that the telemental health app is integrated with HIPAA-compliant solutions. It will assure your patients about the security and privacy of their information. And this will even improve telepsychiatry services. Above all, investing in telehealth in mental health is worth it, as it benefits all stakeholders of the care episode. Telehealth solutions in behavioral healthcare are the best way to increase access to therapy and treatment in today’s mental health care scenario.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.