Telepsychiatry is the provision of psychiatric evaluation, and treatment services, using audio-visual technology, when travel or other restrictions prevent patients from coming in for an office visit. It provides convenience, and potentially quicker access to psychiatric care. Anyone with a computer that has a webcam, can use the software of FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Doxy.me and other platforms . Some physicians also communicate with their patients using e-mail, instant messaging, texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms. Dr. Taylor only uses the online platform of Doxy.me because it is HIPPA compliant and very secure.
Telepsychiatry has evolved more quickly in states and regions that are largely rural, where finding a psychiatrist is difficult, and often involves a lengthy wait for an appointment. The use of telepsychiatry has also increased in order to provide ongoing access to treatment during the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic. More psychiatrists, and their patients are utilizing telepsychiatry, because of the increased ease of use, quality, convenience, and security of networks.
As with any medical intervention, there may be potential problems associated with telepsychiatry. They can include:
- Poor quality picture, and sound may prevent your doctor from conducting a proper assessment.
- Failure of security features of the hardware, and software may result in the failure to keep transmission of treatment session information private.
- Audio-visual information may not be comprehensive enough to allow your doctor to make a thorough enough assessment during a routine or emergency assessment.
All of these issues are being addressed by providers and institutions responsible for providing mental health care.