You might not have heard of telemedicine, but this bold new way of treating patients is currently taking the health care world by storm. Even though the idea behind the incentive is an old one, it’s found a new way to blossom in the contemporary world thanks to the advent of digital technology. Initially designed to help patients who lived far away from a doctor or were incapacitated some way and couldn’t get to see them, telemedicine utilised, as the title suggests, telecommunications. Back in the 1960s when the concept was first introduced, phones were the only method that doctors could use to contact remote patients. But in 2018, there are many more tools at doctors’ and patients’ disposal. As a result, telemedicine is revolutionizing the health care industry, for both clinical doctors’ visits and telemedicine psychiatry.
The main focal point of telemedicine has not changed; it helps doctors connect with remote patients and those with limited mobility. However, thanks to modern technology, there are many more benefits to using telemedicine than simply remote access. It allows patients to connect with their doctors instantaneously, saving both parties time and money. Worrying symptoms can be checked up on immediately, and doctors are better able to monitor their patients through a number of diagnostic tools. Also, there’s better access to specialists, and a wider selection of options for patients who may have previously been limited in scope of choice. But while this is all very clear-cut for patients dealing with physical disorders, when it comes to psychotherapy, can telemedicine have the same impact?
The arena of mental health has changed a lot since the 1960s, when telemedicine was first introduced. We undoubtedly have a better understanding and a more empathetic view of many psychological conditions in 2018, but in many ways, it remains a difficult area to treat. While the stigma around mental health is also being lifted, there is still some that surrounds the diagnosis of some conditions, meaning potential patients aren’t as likely to come forward to doctors as they might be with a physical ailment. Despite this, thousands of people across the U.S. routinely visit psychiatrists for a variety of disorders. So naturally, it makes sense that the emerging field of telemedicine psychiatry can aid and improve mental health across the country.
The first thing that telemedicine psychiatry can help with is removing the gravitas from mental health. Many people could benefit from seeing a psychiatrist at some point in their lives, but they don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up an appointment, and thereby admitting to themselves they might be suffering from a mental disorder. This is a direct result of the stigma around mental health issues, which has been prevalent all over the world for many years. Telemedicine psychiatry can help potential patients ease into treatment; they will feel far more relaxed and reassured if they can conduct the initial discussions with their chosen doctor from the comfort of their own home. Admitting you may be suffering from a mental disorder and all that comes with that can be intimidating; telemedicine can be a great way to make the process less of an event, and help you get the care you need.
Telemedicine can help in other ways too. It might be that a patient is too overwhelmed by anxiety or depression to leave their house. Maybe they just can’t face going to a doctor or psychiatrist’s office. Again, telemedicine psychology can help by bringing them specialist care from the safety and comfort of their own home. It also provides patients with a wide range of options; you’re not just limited to the specialists in your local area. You can select from a wide range of psychiatrists who specialize in many different fields. This mechanism can help patients discover the right doctor for them, instead of having to settle for the handful who are within driving distance from their home.
Telemedicine is also helpful in the field of emotional support animals, or ESAs for short. This popular new mental health treatment involves utilizing regular pets with no specific training as a way of providing support for those suffering from a wide variety of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. The key to getting an ESA is a emotional support animal letter, which must be prescribed from a mental health professional. Again, this might seem like a daunting task for those who are intimidated by the mental health field, but through sites like Moosh, which guide patients through the process of procuring an ESA letter from their home, telemedicine is making a positive impact on people’s lives.
The field of psychiatry is still evolving; mental health professionals are doing their best to remove the stigma from the field, and encourage patients to see a specialist when they’re feeling vulnerable. Unlike physical disorders, mental afflictions can be very hard to quantify. Telemedicine psychiatry is an invaluable tool that can make the fight for mental health easier across the world.