For many patients, telemedicine video conferencing solutions can be the difference between promptly receiving treatment and waiting weeks to get an appointment with a doctor in an office some distance away. Timing an appointment is especially crucial for psychiatry patients, who may need to contact their doctor or therapist about a pressing issue. Fortunately, telemedicine trends are continuing to expand to make psychiatric care more accessible for patients everywhere.
Telepsychiatry benefits from many telemedicine trends, especially those embracing new technology. When telemedicine first came into use, physicians required the use of large, bulky equipment and patients had to visit the office to speak to the specialist via HIPAA compliant video conferencing software. Since then, technology has improved so that patients can contact their therapist or physician from the comfort of their own home, using equipment that they already have, such as a personal computer or laptop. Experts predict that telemedicine may become available for use on smartphones and tablets in the near future.
Improving technology has made telemedicine more accessible for patients everywhere, including high school students who may be unable to make regular therapy appointments. Many schools offer counseling services for students by utilizing telemedicine, thereby saving money from hiring a full-time counselor whose services may or may not be needed on a consistent basis.
In addition to making appointments more convenient for patients, telemedicine software makes the job easier for therapists and physicians. As technology and video quality improve, therapists are able to watch for subtle cues in their patients’ body language indicating any changes in mood or condition.
As technology continues to improve, telemedicine trends will continue to make counseling and psychiatric services available to more patients. Patients with chronic pain, transportation issues, and anxiety will also be able to speak to their general practitioner without having to make travel arrangements, and specialists will be able to contact patients who live in rural areas as well.