What Is Telehealth And How Can It Make Therapy Better?
At first glance, words like “telehealth”, “telemedicine”, and ‘telepsychiatry” might seem like a bunch of new millennial technological jargon we don’t need to bother learning about, but the meanings and benefits behind these words are well worth learning about. In fact, you may actually already know what it is and not even realize it!
Have you ever had one doctor request you get your blood drawn, you go to another place to get it done, and the results are digitally sent over to your doctor? Have you ever gone to a doctor who set you up with your own online portal where you could sign in, make appointments, and check your test results? That’s all telehealth!
Telehealth works for all kinds of health practitioners, including therapists and psychiatrists (hence the term telepsychiatry). I’ve personally greatly benefited from telehealth and telepsychiatry very recently.
My whole life (I started going to therapy at age fifteen) I had difficulty finding a psychiatrist that clicked “just right” with me. When I finally found one seven years ago, I built a solid, trustworthy relationship with her, and that’s something to be treasured. In the past year, she had to leave one of the practices she was at, which was the one that was geographically close to me. That meant if I wanted to see her, I’d have to drive a little more than an hour to see her on my least favorite highway in the world.
Finding all this out was confusing and scary. What was I going to do? Did I need to start all over and find a new psychiatrist? What if it took another eight years to find the right one? I started to worry, but then she reassured me: we had so many options.
Yes, I could still come in for in-person visits as needed, but we could also do secure live video calls from the comfort of my own home. She could call in my prescriptions to my local pharmacy. I can mail my payments in. We can schedule new appointments electronically. I didn’t have to lose her, and it was all thanks to telehealth!
In fact, if anything, I feel a little more connected to my doctor now that we have all these additional ways of communicating instead of all this silence in between appointments and only talking face to face in an office. I truly believe it’s strengthened our relationship and helped us learn more about how we work best with each other.
Just think of other potential benefits you might gain from telehealth services in your life. It brings the treatment to wherever you are, so you don’t have to get out of your pajamas or worry about what kind of transportation you’re going to use to get there. You could even do it on your lunch break at work, so you don’t need to take the afternoon off! It’s less likely the appointment will be canceled because it’s so much easier to hop on a video call than it is to get two people to drive to an office on time. Plus, telehealth allows all your doctors to be the best treatment team they can be because they have all your health information, results, and updates at their fingertips instead of doing any guesswork!
Telehealth is definitely making its way to an office near you, but don’t fret! It’s ready to make your life less stressful, healthier, and easier to navigate. Join me in embracing telehealth’s benefits as we move into the future!