I am by no means telepsychiatry’s biggest fan. But since March 2020, when my practice of outpatient psychiatry changed overnight, I have adapted to it. I have learned to get up between appointments so I don’t sit in front of a computer all day and how to fit in patient visits while on a work trip. I still prefer being in the actual room with a patient, but I accept this is the way my job looks now. I accept it because it expands access and decreases barriers, two things desperately needed in mental health.
I tend to see college students, healthcare workers, and faculty and staff at a university system, and they all love virtual visits. They tell me often about the convenience of not having to drive to an appointment and miss work for longer, or the benefits of not leaving home and having to find child care. As Covid-19 rates have declined, I have tried to open in-person days, but I can’t fill them with IRL visits. My patients aren’t alone in preferring online sessions, as the data show. In a study of more than 38,600, patient satisfaction numbers for video visits were significantly higher than in-person ones. Studies also show that patients are less likely to no-show for an appointment virtually, which can save time and money for both the provider and staff.
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Author: Jessica Gold
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