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The use of telepsychology during COVID-19 and beyond

November 19, 2020 · 7 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to the medical community. These challenges will likely be present for some considerable time. Like all specialists, psychologists are seeking ways to overcome the barriers to care caused by physical distancing measures which resulted in а decrease in face-to-face interactions with patients.

Amid the pandemic, telehealth, or also online psychotherapy, has given healthcare systems a chance to improve incrementally and has proven to be an alternative to keeping healthcare accessible to every person in need.

The question you may be asking yourself is “Does digital health really have a place in psychology, or is it going to remain only in-person health care”? The answer is “YES”, psychology is well suited to remote engagement, and so it is in a good position for a telehealth approach.

A 2019 research has indicated that telepsychology is very effective for depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, as well as for substance use and eating disorders. These are only a few of the medical cases that you can treat via telehealth.

Read along to learn what other benefits telepsychology has for specialists and what medical cases are treated via telehealth.

Benefits

Eliminates patient barriers like shyness

People feel more comfortable sharing personal stuff and are more open to share with a specialist via audio or video call rather than talking face-to-face. Telehealth removes the barrier of being afraid to speak openly by offering consultations from the comfort of a person’s home.

Social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely and we believe that by offering them access to a specialist wherever they are, this could decrease their anxiety and stress. Moreover, many patients started using apps where they track and list their emotions and feelings which they can share with psychologists online.

Easy way of informing patients that you are available online

By registering with Healee MD, you get a unique page that can be sent to patients in order to notify them that you are launching online consultations. Moreover, with your registration you also receive a dedicated Healee button that you can embed on your personal website or on the website of the clinic you own/work for. You don’t need to put any extra efforts for further integration – the Healee team does all that for you within the same day of your registration. 

Convenience for you and your patients

With the pandemic being in its 8 month, people are afraid for their income, jobs, security and so on. This isolation is also keeping them away from visiting relatives. On one hand, psychologists can connect with patients while being at home аnd removing barriers like travelling to the office.

On the other hand, psychologists help people who have moved away, are travelling or had unique circumstances that prevent them from having in-person visits with the psychologists (this can be a pregnant woman on bed rest who feels depressed and needs someone to talk to or a young person who has social anxiety disorder). Many pregnant women feel an additional pressure because many uncertainties appear in regards to them giving birth in COVID situations. Providing online consultations to these Mums-to-be can help them remain calm and cope with the situation more favourably.

Rich communication options

The pandemic has made people around the world work from home more than ever before and is forcing them to consider carefully where they live because they no longer depend on their work location. This means that physicians, including psychologists, need to follow up on the care they are providing. Telehealth gives psychologists the advantage to be able to provide comprehensive care any time, anywhere over a secure chat, audio or video calls. 

Increased revenue

Healee MD is a quick and convenient way for you to get paid for your time and expertise. You set your own price, and you decide whether and when you charge patients. You also have the chance to be contacted by and help patients from different locations. With your own verified Healee MD profile, you can let patients subscribe to your services, and get prepaid packages of online consultations, at a lower price. You can create your subscription plan and set the parameters – price, duration, number of consultations just like the other psychologists using Healee MD.

More confidentiality for your sessions

Most telehealth platforms, like Healee MD, are HIPPA-compliant and give you and your patients security to know that whatever information you share between yourselves is secure and extra private.

For anyone who is uncomfortable with visiting you in the office and bumping into someone familiar or other patients on the way to the clinic, online therapy sessions are ideal. Virtually patients find it more appealing to connect with you from the comfort of their own home, car or other safe place for them.

Via telehealth, psychologists can treat…

Depression, personal/work-related stress, anxiety, anger

Psychological symptoms related to COVID-19 have already been observed including anxiety-driven panic buying and paranoia of having medication that is not needed at the moment. Many people develop psychological symptoms due to stress of the unknown and the reduced autonomy and disruption of the daily routine.

Systematic reviews have found that telepsychology is effective for depression, anxiety and adjustment disorder. Through telehealth, patients find emotional support through a meaningful therapy session online from a psychologist from the comfort of their home, anytime they need it. One trial founded equivalent treatment outcomes from both online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and face-to-face CBT therapy. Furthermore, not only telephone consultation was slightly more lasting but also patients who had phone consultations were less likely to drop out of therapy.

No scheduling hassle

Оne Healee MD functionality is the online booking service – Superdoc. Via Superdoc patients can book both in-person visits and/or online consultations with you. It is a great alternative that saves your patients time to travel to the clinic to book an appointment and instead they can do that with just a few clicks. It is even more convenient for you, because you can see all upcoming patient appointments in a virtual waiting room from your phone or laptop. You also receive notifications about every next consultation.

Panic disorder

Panic disorders appear suddenly and people can get very stressed out about what to do and who to turn to. Telehealth consultations offer a soothing place where they can contact a specialist who can guide them through this period. Not only can the psychologist see how the patient reacts and speaks in a home atmosphere, but the specialist can also pay more attention to the patient’s tone of voice, tempo of words and breathing patterns. Тhis disorder is treatable, yet it has to be diagnosed on time and the patient needs to start ongoing treatment.

Via telehealth, psychologists can also have therapy sessions for: 

  • trauma, grief, panic attacks, PTSD
  • neurodevelopmental disorders (attention deficit, autism spectrum disorder)
  • addictions and eating disorders
  • dementia 
  • psychosis
  • life adjustments and transitions

It is important to note that there might be more serious mental illnesses or addictions that might need more in-person treatment and where telehealth is only used as an addition to the face-to-face interactions.

Conclusion

Even in non-pandemic times, delivering care virtually allows psychologists to reach more people, including those who are geographically isolated or lack access to a nearby psychologist. During COVID and beyond, people will continue to opt for services that mitigate risk and unnecessary interaction for some time, this is why it is important that you are there to offer them an additional place where they can receive the needed care.

If you want to put effort and connect with your patients despite the current situation, embrace the new healthcare norm – telehealth. With telehealth you have the tool to inform your patients virtually that you are still on their disposal.

Healee MD is a great tool for psychologists. It allows you to quickly and easily launch online consultations, continue providing care to patients from a distance, and maximize your revenue during and beyond these insecure Covid-19 times. Starting with telemedicine with Healee MD today could mean more patients, happier patients for you.

Contact us now for full details: https://www.healee.com/en

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