Telemedicine is the diagnosis and treatment of patients, in which the practitioner and the patient interact via a secure, audiovisual internet connection that complies with all applicable laws and standards concerning confidentiality of protected health information and accepted standards of care.
All visits are conducted online, and from the comfort of your home or private office. This eliminates commuting to and from the clinic and minimizes trips to the pharmacy, eliminates the waiting room altogether, and essentially makes each visit a virtual house call.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA): "Telepsychiatry is equivalent to in-person care in diagnostic accuracy, treatment effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction. Patient privacy and confidentiality are equivalent to in-person care. With a robust evidence base that shows telepsychiatry leading to improved outcomes and higher patient satisfaction ratings, policy makers, payers and providers are increasingly considering ways to implement and use telepsychiatry." For more on the APA's position, click here.
Because the practice of psychiatry does not require a comprehensive physical examination, it is possible and acceptable to conduct these visits from the privacy and convenience of your own home or office, without having to travel to a clinic, and without having to be attended by a nurse or other allied health professional. If, however, at any time I feel that a proper and thorough evaluation cannot be completed using this technology, I will certainly advise of that accordingly, but these instances are rare and usually involve medical and psychiatric emergencies best managed in a hospital or emergency room setting.
Telepsychiatry visits must include both a video as well as an audio component; proper evaluations and follow-up and treatment cannot legally nor adequately be provided over the phone.
BENEFITS The benefits of telepsychiatry include convenience for both the patient and the practitioner, in terms of removing the need to travel--sometimes long distances--in order to receive care, often bringing specialist services to remote, or otherwise underserved, areas, and obviating the typical waiting room experience. Not having to wait in a crowded or uncomfortable waiting room also increases privacy by avoiding having to wait in a room with other patients, as well as non-patients, wanting to see the doctor.
Another convenience is that all prescriptions and refills are filed electronically, including controlled substances, so that patients do not have to travel to their pharmacy to drop off paper prescriptions first, only to have to either wait, or return at a later time, or even another day, to pick up their actual medication. Because all records are kept electronically, including visit notes, I am better able to document and access your medical record from any location, further facilitating my ability to serve you in a timely manner. Sophisticated software also assists with identifying drug-drug interactions, avoiding allergic reactions, and can even aid in the selection of the most cost-effective formulations.