How Teleconferencing Is Being Used Treat Mental Health Patients

Due to a shortage of psychiatrists in the healthcare service, doctors are trying new and innovative ways of providing their patients with the support they need. This can be a challenge since certain factors such as the location of the patient and the doctor make it impossible for patients to get the medical care and psychological counseling they need. To solve this problem, Michele Casoli-Reardon, MD, of Arcadian Telepsychiatry, has come up with a new way of getting assessments and treating patients. This new technology being used makes it easy for patients to consult with their doctors regardless of their physical location. The new teleconferencing technology also makes it easy to set appointments for sessions at times that previously would have been unlikely. The patient also does not need to travel to the hospital or healthcare center for each session. Telepsychiatry is also covered by most health insurance, which improves access to mental health services. The only downside at the moment when it comes to telepsychiatry is that in many states in the US, both the doctor and the patient have to be present in the same state for it to be legal. The good news is, some of those laws are being amended for the benefit of those in need of psychiatric care so that they can get the therapy they need.

The field of psychiatry is constantly changing, yet there are concerns that the field is shrinking. Read how another medical student’s insights after shadowing a psychotherapy doctor:

It turns out I didn’t have to worry about this because Dr. D was doing consults that day—which were far from intimate, compared to the psychotherapy sessions I expected to see. It involved us going from bed to bed, as Dr. D asked each patient with a history of psychiatric issues general questions about their mental health. As the day of consults went on, I started to wonder whether or not psychotherapy was as relevant as it used to be. Perhaps the image of a patient lying down on a couch and sharing their feelings with a note-taking psychiatrist was more outdated than I thought. Dr. D confirmed my suspicions. He explained to me that many of today’s psychiatrists do not utilize psychotherapy as a dominant form of treatment. Instead, in addition to performing consults, a modern psychiatrist relies more heavily on prescribing psychotropic medications like Zoloft, an antidepressant, or Chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic.

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