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Telepsychiatry: The Right Choice?
There are a number of people in the medical community that disagree with the use of telepsychiatry. e-Psychiatry, one of the leaders in the telepsychiatry community, helps clear some of the issues surrounding telepsychiatry.
The 5 Senses
As humans we have 5 senses, see, touch, hear, taste and smell. The ability to see and hear a patient during an appointment with a psychiatrist, most would agree, is the most important out of the five senses. Touching and smelling would be the only senses psychiatrists’
High Risk Patients
There are specific dangers with regards to telepsychiatry and high risk patients. Psychiatrists should routinely identify patients who are and are not good fits for their telepsychiatry practice. It may be helpful to define a general patient population for whom telepsychiatry would be an appropriate (or inappropriate)
Telepsychiatry and HIPAA Compliance
There is some worry about utilizing telepsychiatry while remaining HIPAA compliant. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not consider an interactive video consultation to be protected health information, so it does not govern telepsychiatry encounters. However, device encryption and a private internet connection are recommended for patient security and privacy. Most telepsychiatry equipment encrypts the transmission. Other types of telehealth, such as the transmission of patient data or images, are considered protected health information and must be managed according to HIPAA requirements.
Utilizing telepsychiatry does not alter the standard of care to which psychiatrists are held; it is the same standard of care that would apply if the patient were in your office or facility. Although “the standard of care” is a vague concept, it represents the idea that psychiatrists should provide at least minimally acceptable and clinically appropriate diagnosis and treatment to all patients, regardless of circumstances. Most traditional outpatient psychiatrists do NOT get vital signs in the office and they do NOT perform anything like a physical exam. This is the standard of care for traditional outpatient psychiatry and that's part of the reason why telepsychiatry can be an effective tool for providing mental health care. To some, telepsychiatry may not be as sufficient as an in-office visit but regardless it meets the standards of care. These and many other questions haved been asked with the implementation of telepsychiatry. e-Psychiatry, a company that provides telepsychiatry services, has been able to tackle all the tough issues surrounding telepsychiatry. They have been able to help many mental health facilities and psychiatrists with successfully launching telepsychiatry programs throughout the country. If you would like to learn more about telepsychiatry you can go to http://www.e-