In the wake of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we are faced with a pandemic we have never faced in contemporary time.
Schools and colleges have transitioned to online classes and extended spring breaks, and businesses have start to allow work from home or given days off to employees.
And healthcare providers in clinics and private practices have either looked to close or have adopted to add telehealth or online psychiatric appointments to continue providing care to their patients.
Just in the last week, there has been a surge in providers hastening to provide online psychiatric appointments in their practices. And due to the demands, several laws and insurance policies have allowed changes to cover cost of telehealth or online psychaitric appointments.
It is important to meet the healthcare needs and still required is to follow privacy and confidentiality regulations and laws.
What are good online – telehealth or telepsychiatric – appointment practices?
Standard SMS and email are not HIPAA-compliant and may not be secure. Standard pratice is to provide a secure communication between patients and providers or office, such as a patient portal.
Online appointments are the best of modern technology: it is the marriage of accessibility and health care. Can treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, OCD, and bipolar. *
Facetime, Standard skype, standard google Hangout are not secure platforms for online healthcare appointments.
Unless you have expressed consent for communication by SMS text or email, those are not HIPAA compliant as they may be insecure forms of communication and may be intercepted by a third party.
There are limitations to online psychiatric appointments that needs to be addressed. The severity of the condition will dictate if an individul would be appropriate for online appointments and monitoring. First priority is the safety of the patient.
What are the benefits of online appointments or online health visits?
- Online appointments can help decrease the spread of bacterial and viral infections, like coronovirus (COVID-19), by decreasing social space.
- Online appointments can continue to provide routine health care visits through secure, live video conferencing.
- Online appointments can be economical in saving time – travel, leisure, and work time. You can be at home doing something you love rather than waiting in the lobby for 30 minutes.
You can read more about the comparison between office visits and online psychaitric visits here.