Telehealth, telemed, and now telepsychiatry have altered the face of medical care. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about huge changes to the medical world throughout 2020 and 2021. Interactions and even treatment methods have changed allowing physicians to better meet their patients’ ever-changing needs.
For patients with mental and behavioral health disorders, psychiatrists can provide online diagnosis, treatment, and prescription medications through telepsychiatry.
What is telepsychiatry and how does it work?
What is the best telemedicine platform?
Can telepsychiatrists prescribe medication?
Will my insurance or Medicare cover telepsychiatry?
Read on to learn more the answers to these questions and more as we discuss telepsychiatry and how it works.
Medical professionals have turned to telehealth services to interact with and treat patients face to face while in different locations. With telepsychiatry, mental health professionals still meet with clients, discuss their problems, and establish a goal and treatment plan.
What Does Telepsychiatry Mean?
As with any of the telehealth practices, telepsychiatry involves providing services, in this case mental health services, via a virtual platform. Virtual psychiatrists address issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, work from home stresses, and more.
Patients and doctors set up convenient meeting times through phone calls, emails or messages, and/or real time video conferencing. The exact platform varies among practices and the patients’ needs. The bottom line is that patients can receive treatment options without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Research suggests that telepsychiatry is an effective delivery system for mental healthcare for patients of all ages. Due to the ease of appointment scheduling, the virtual health system may contribute to better quality of care.
How Telepsychiatry Works
Although the method of providing treatment differs, the goal of telepsychiatry is the same as in-person psychiatric services. A medical professional specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental health disorders provides patient care.
With telepsychiatry, patients and doctors do not have to be in the same location. They meet via an alternate platform which offers the convenience of a chosen time and place for many patients. This means no commutes or unnecessary time off of work for appointments. Scheduling online appointments adds a level of convenience to telepsychiatry.
Focus Clinic offers telepsychiatry in San Francisco and throughout California. This enables us to meet with our patients wherever they are and still provide the highest quality care.
How Do Telehealth Visits Work?
Telehealth visits take place through digital information and communication technologies. You may use technology at home or a specific platform requested by your doctor to support your health care.
Patients and their doctors communicate through the chosen digital or virtual platform. They can review the patient’s medical information, discuss concerns, and establish a working treatment plan.
Patients have easy, convenient access to care.
What Is the Best Telemedicine Platform?
With the Covid-19 pandemic creating a public health crisis, more and more medical professionals have turned to telemedicine. As a result, practices are required to use platforms that adhere to and protect patient privacy as required through HIPAA.
According to the current regulations, doctors may use audio and video-based platforms that are not public facing and remain HIPAA compliant. For example, products such as Facebook Live are public facing and would share a patient’s information rather than protecting it.
Popular telemedicine platforms that are not public facing include:
- Zoom for Healthcare
- Skype for Business
- Microsoft Teams
- Google C Suite Hangouts Meet
Contact your provider if you have questions about the virtual platform in use.
Can Telepsychiatry Prescribe Medication?
Psychiatrists attended medical school and can prescribe medications. Telepsychiatrists can prescribe medication once a patient-provider relationship has been established.
This relationship is established through a physical examination. The method of performing the examination and the need for it vary from state to state.
California law allows telepsychiatrists to prescribe medication without ever meeting in person. This includes antidepressants for depression and anxiety and medications for ADHD.
Due to the current public health crisis, online psychiatrists can also prescribe controlled medications.
After your consultation, Focus Clinic’s psychiatrists can prescribe medication that can be picked up at your pharmacy or delivered to your home.
Insurance and Telepsychiatry
The role of insurance in telemedicine is confusing. As of right now, there is no set standard regarding insurance and telemedicine or telepsychiatry.
Will Medicare or My Insurance Cover Telehealth?
Medicare Part B generally covers telehealth consultations, but a 20% coinsurance applies.
Focus Clinic provides holistic, integrative treatment via a telemedicine platform. Treatment plans include online prescription medication which can be conveniently delivered to your door or to your local pharmacy.
However, at this time, we do not accept Medicare or insurance for telepsychiatry appointments.
Telepsychiatry with Focus Clinic
Focus Clinic offers telepsychiatry services in San Francisco and California. Our board-certified mental health providers provide holistic, integrative care. We offer treatments for adult ADHD, anxiety, depression, and work from home stresses.
Treatment plans may include supplements and online medication management that can be delivered to your door.
A Better Mental Healthcare Experience
The process to get started is simple. Just fill out a simple questionnaire about yourself and self-schedule your appointment with a board-certified online mental health professional.
Let us help protect your mental well-being!