Wellbeing, burnout, work-life balance. These are all terms that mental health providers are familiar with. Often patients are counseled to take more time for themselves and spend less time at work. But for many providers, it is a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Mental health providers have a rewarding and in-demand profession but are overwhelmed and cannot focus on their practice as much as they would like. The growing number of people facing mental health issues now exceeds the number of psychiatrists. Only 26% of patients can receive the care they need. Telepsychiatry can help fill this gap in patient care and allow mental health providers to make a major impact in addressing unmet patient needs.
Mental health providers are trained to deliver care in many different settings, from private practice, community agencies, to emergency departments. Telepsychiatry allows psychiatrists and other providers to expand their reach even farther by enabling them to treat patients all over the country, from the comfort of their own home or office.
Many patients living in rural areas struggle to get the care they need and are limited in the providers they can choose from. With telepsychiatry, these patients can quickly and easily access mental health providers around the country, giving them on-demand access to experts they otherwise might not have been able to see.
Telepsychiatry doesn’t only benefit patients though. It also enables mental health professionals to treat patients nationwide without having to uproot their own family or their normal practice. Virtual treatment options give mental health providers the freedom to treat a patient in Alaska in the morning, and another in Florida that same afternoon without even having to leave their desk.
Telepsychiatry empowers psychiatrists to expand their treatment areas of interest as well. With a wider patient population, psychiatrists have the option to focus on treating a few chosen mental health issues that a smaller population around a regular practice would not provide.
Dedicated as they are, mental health providers are no strangers to burnout, and work-life balance may seem unachievable. Seeing patients, completing paperwork, and running a practice can leave little time for spouses and children, let alone self-care. Telepsychiatry can help lighten that burden and help mental health providers achieve a better balance with flexible scheduling and reduced travel time. And reducing travel leaves more time for seeing patients, without spending more hours away from family and life.
Telemedicine also provides a network of physicians around the country that providers can connect to. Telehealth has seen astounding growth over the past few years, and that trend is set to continue with projected growth of 19% annually. This huge growth has led many new physicians to join telemedicine and offers those already in the space a quickly expanding professional network.
This growing trend has also led many residency programs to include telemedicine training. The American Psychiatric Association recommends that residency training programs include telepsychiatry in their core rotations. Many well-known universities, including the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University, have adopted telepsychiatry into their training programs.
The burgeoning field of telepsychiatry has a bright future for mental health providers and patients alike. If you would like to learn more about becoming a telepsychiatry provider, or how you can offer telepsychiatry at your location, MindCare is here to help. At MindCare, we strive to have an impact on the patients we serve and to transform behavioral health services by improving access to care, achieving optimal outcomes, and reducing costs. Our collaborative treatment approach and career pathways provide opportunities for mental health professionals from a variety of disciplines. We are building a culture of excellence with a team dedicated to patient care and customer service. If you want to better serve unmet populations or are looking to increase your work-life balance, telepsychiatry offers a wonderful career path forward.