Depression is the most common mental illness not only in the U.S but around the world. The National Institute of Mental Health states that this illness affects at least 16.2 million Americans. Moreover, 1.5 percent of U.S adults suffer from the persistent depressive illness each year. COVID-19 has created the ideal conditions for depression and other mental illnesses to spike.
Issues such as business closures, job loss, and the lockdown have tripled the depression rate. In such a time as this, telehealth has been widely received as the best solution towards addressing the growing demand for depression and mental health without compromising the population’s safety.
Telehealth makes care affordable
Telehealth removes the pressure on healthcare systems as it leverages technology to make care accessible. Telehealth encompasses phone-support, internet-based approaches, messaging, and remote monitoring to enable access to care. Therefore people with depression do not have to struggle in secret as they can connect with a doctor via video chat for online consultation.
What about costs? Well, recent changes to Medicare and HIPAA regulations have facilitated telehealth. The changes benefit physicians and patients as physicians get reimbursed for telehealth services. Alternatively, a growing number of insurance companies aside from Medicare are covering telehealth.
Many telehealth providers such as Prairie Health, Get Cerebral and Better Help have stepped up to launch digital health solutions for those struggling with mental issues.
Telehealth offers convenience
Telehealth helps people struggling with tough illnesses such as depression, anxiety or addiction get care within the comfort of their homes. This is cost-effective as patients don’t have to go through the frustrations of commuting to a physical facility and enduring long wait times. They can call up a doctor, hold a video chat, and get individualized care without leaving their houses.
Telehealth consists of a variety of tools that facilitate the provision of coordinated care. For instance, the telemonitoring tools enable the care practitioner to diagnose a patient and educate the patient on the disease’s self-management. Online pharmaceuticals are also part of telehealth, and practitioners can prescribe medication via a phone call or video chat.
The prevalence of smartphone use has also made telehealth the most convenient means of providing care. A Pew research study showed that at least 96% of Americans own a smartphone. This makes telehealth the best way for people located in remote areas to access care as they can use their smartphones to connect with a care practitioner.
Telehealth improves healthcare quality
A recent study shows that telehealth improves care quality, especially for people in remote locations. This is because technology removes the barriers associated with physical care, such as long waiting times in the emergency room and transportation costs. Telehealth has also eliminated the issue of missed appointments. If the patients were avoiding care because of stigma or the struggles of commuting, then they will definitely attend an online consultation because it’s more private.
Patients also prefer telehealth, and 83% of them predict that they will utilize this service long after COVID-19
Overall, telehealth has improved the quality and safety of care. Considering the demand for care and the low physician-to-patient ratios, telehealth is a much-needed solution for quality care. People struggling with depression in rural and urban areas can contact a specialist and manage their condition before getting worse. Mental health researchers point out that depression is no different from a chronic disease. Moreover, patients with a history of depression are likely to experience an increased risk of symptoms if they don’t get holistic treatment. Thanks to telehealth, holistic treatment is possible for all people.
JOY MD is a digital health platform that makes it easy for people to find the best healthcare professionals and platforms. The platform strives to make mental healthcare more accessible. JOY MD has an extensive directory of medical practitioners, including psychiatrists. You can get personalized programs delivered one-on-one, remotely, privately, and confidentially.