Telemedicine is a new technological idea that many mental health providers have introduced due to the social distancing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused several mental health appointments involving psychologists and psychiatrists, to start implementing videoconferencing technology.
Telemedicine has been around for quite a long time, but many health providers have underutilized it. The main reasons are due to a multitude of problems, such as confidentiality and security. Others include hesitation that the system is not as applicable in establishing the crucial relationship between patients and clinicians.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that, and apparently, all health providers involved in mental health care delivery were suddenly driven to utilize this technology. Also, many American states have been speeding up to amend existing laws and rules by trying to ensure the service becomes available. Additionally, many people may need it even in the future as needs arise.
Currently, after many mental health providers have taken initiatives to experiment with telemedicine technology, they are gaining some experience on how it works. Predictably, the reaction from both clinicians and clients has been diverse. For instance, some find the new technology confusing and challenging to learn, while some find its interactions more unfriendly and outdated.
However, some appreciate the approach and are obtaining some unforeseen benefits to telemedicine within the mental health treatment field.
With the increasing numbers of appointments from mental health providers, several crucial and fascinating considerations have also surfaced, sparking lots of discussions. Such debates have existed before. However, due to the increasing numbers of new people currently using telehealth at the moment, there is a much wider audience. Two crucial concerns being discussed include:
Misdiagnosis on Telemedicine
Since misdiagnosis usually occurs during in-person health care, the risks increase with telemedicine. Additionally, there is no perfect standard of care verified by state legislatures, and also, there may be uneven quality between different providers.
Misdiagnosis can probably increase overall expenses to the health care system as a whole since it results in wrong treatments and prescriptions. According to the CDC, there is already 33 percent of unnecessary antibiotics prescriptions. Additionally, if a telemedicine service cannot establish a diagnosis, patients may be advised to attend an ER or an urgent care service. If these visits are unnecessary, they may cause massive costs to both the patients and the overall system.
Confidentiality has always been a significant concern for telemedicine, especially because some programs are more reliable than others. Because of the pandemic, there have been continuous delays in the acceptable applications to use for telemedicine appointments. However, some latest incidents with Zoom and other platforms have revealed why it remains a concern.
With the increase of new telemedicine users, some confidentiality problems occur while the involved participants interact. For instance, clinicians should ensure their discussions with their clients in sensitive areas are private and never overheard. Additionally, both health providers and clients, in unison, may hold appointments in more public areas such as their home where others can listen to the conversations. In many cases, it is difficult to find a private and quiet space in one’s home.
Final Thoughts from the Recover
With the COVID-19 consequences remaining unresolved, mental health providers will surely need telemedicine to perform their services. However, health providers need to address many challenging issues ahead with their clients as they utilize this technology. Besides, telehealth is a technology that will surely advance in the future. Check our list of rehab directories to inquire whether they are using the telehealth services for remote communications while in isolation.