The normal doctor visits, situations where a patient books an appointment, meets a doctor, and get diagnosed, are reducing gradually, and the internet is the real cause. Right from Telemedicine to Telepsychiatry, the internet is bringing changes to the medical and psychiatric scene.
Telepsychiatry makes use of videoconferencing programs including Facetime, Skype, or Google Talk Video in order to create an interaction between psychiatrists and mental patients.
For the past 20 years, telepsychiatry has increased the number of mental patients who want to be diagnosed remotely. The system is also now widely adopted, and technological companies are making more devices with more simplicity in both operation and installation.
It all begun in 1995 when the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs started making use of this method. It started with computers. However, technology has advanced in such a way that tablets and phones are also being used.
This method of mental health diagnosing is ideal for mental health patients living in rural or remote areas. It is also ideal for those living in reservations, and also good for soldiers on the route. Apart from assessing the mental health of patients using obvious symptoms, telepsychiatry is equally used in managing medications, diagnose psychotherapy, and equally follow up on patients.
The pros of Telepsychiatry
It provides an opportunity to those living in remote areas to have access to mental health treatments. There’s no need for anything – just your computer and access to the internet.
It gives mental health doctors the chance to treat or help diagnose mental health patients across the world without any expenditure on transportation. Mental health doctors become “Doctors without borders.”
Mental health patients are open to a myriad of options as to which mental health doctor to go for. In traditional medical setting, a patient has only one doctor, but with telepsychiatry, the choices are numerous.
It helps physicians to quickly take care of emergency situations. Sometimes, traveling to see a psychiatrist might take too long. But with telepsychiatry, one can have access to mental diagnosis with the touch of a button.
The Cons of Telepsychiatry
One biggest con of the telepsychiatric system is the fact that the patient is not physically present in front of the doctor. This prevents physical examination. Though physical presence is not much of an important requirement when diagnosing mental patients, it plays a role in helping the doctor closely examine the patient to unearth certain hidden features that probably won’t be seen online.
The lack of physical presence also means that some aspects of communication such as body language can’t be observed by the doctor on camera. This makes it difficult in diagnosing certain mental health problems.
Doctors are also mostly prohibited from undertaking involuntary. Thus, a patient can refuse treatment and nothing can be done about it.
The future of Telepsychiatry
Telepsychiatry has come to stay. The world is gradually moving towards the internet and cloud-based age. Many more people are increasingly expressing interest in telepsychiatry. The hurdles and cost of transportation are pushing more people to see this option as the ultimate choice.
In the near future, let’s say 10 to 15 years, telepsychiatry will become a core component of the entire mental health sector. More patients would seek for this kind of treatment. What that means is that more technological gadgets, more software programs, and more professionals are going to contribute to making this technology a success.
With many video conferencing programs, as well as new technological inventions coming up, telepsychiatry will be a big player and changer in mental health.