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Telemedicine Software for Psychiatry: Costs, Pros, and Features of Telepsychiatry Software

In the same way that telemedicine allows healthcare providers to offer patients simple, convenient consultations from the comfort of their homes, telepsychiatry allows psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists to treat patients remotely. In addition, telepsychiatry software offers an easy way to coordinate care with other specialists and the patient's primary care provider.

Telepsychiatry capabilities include conducting evaluations, providing therapy and counseling services, managing medications, recording medical information, sharing patient histories, and sharing and reviewing labs.

Is Telepsychiatry Effective?

According to the research, yes, telepsychiatry is very effective, particularly when treating PTSD, anxiety, and ADHD. The nice part is that satisfaction levels are high for both patients and providers. This is thanks to the fact that diagnostic accuracy, quality of care, and the effectiveness of treatment are all equivalent to care received in the office.

Research also shows that this level of effectiveness is found across age groups, with many younger people (especially those under 40) preferring telehealth to in-person visits. In addition, patients with certain conditions tend to experience greater comfort levels with remote care, particularly those who have physical disabilities, severe anxiety, and autism.

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What Are the Benefits of Telepsychiatry?

As far as patient care, telepsychiatry offers myriad benefits. To begin with, it is highly convenient, making mental health care much more accessible, particularly for patients who live in underserved communities with limited access to specialists.

Telepsychiatry also allows easy integration of primary care with behavior health care, since it facilitates collaboration between providers, improving the level of care provided at both ends. Patients also seem to be more likely to manage their appointments, possibly due to the improved coordination of care, but also attributable to the greater comfort they feel in familiar surroundings. It also helps that patients require less time away from work or school, and even experience fewer childcare obstacles and transportation issues.

Finally, there's no denying that there is still a stigma surrounding mental health care in America. For some patients, this is strong enough to keep them out of the psychiatrist's or therapist's office. Telepsychiatry may help these patients get the care they need.

At the provider level, telehealth in general makes collaboration between providers easier than ever before. Sharing patient histories and labs happens with the touch of a button, and you can also video conference with other providers as easily as you do with patients. And, importantly, you enjoy all of the above benefits with HIPAA-compliant software protecting your patients' privacy.

How Much Does Telepsychiatry Software Cost?

The cost of your telepsychiatry software depends on the size of your practice, the number of users you have, and your level of implementation.

  • WeCounsel is designed specifically for behavioral health providers, although other practices may use it. Features include online scheduling, appointment reminders, remote payment, screen sharing, insurance eligibility checks, and claims submission. The cost is $24.99 per month, per user.
  • Single-provider practices enjoy free service through Doxy.me, including video or text chat without the patient needing to download any software. Paid plans for multi-provider practices start at $29 per month, per user.
  • eVisit charges $249 per month, per user. This plan allows you to write electronic prescriptions, host a virtual waiting room, and perform medical billing.
  • Sherpaa is not a software system. Instead, it's a platform that hires its own healthcare providers and then matches those providers with patients looking for a telemedicine provider. The patient pays $40 per month, which grants him or her access to a group of doctors able to write prescriptions, make referrals, and order labs.
  • VSee includes a virtual waiting room and patient self-scheduling for $499 per month.
  • Zoom is a videoconferencing app that offers HIPAA-compliant screen sharing for $200 per month. It isn't software, but it offers reliable videoconferencing on any connected device.

Additional Telepsychiatry Cost Considerations

In addition to the basic software and teleconferencing costs, you may want to include certain tools and devices in your telepsychiatry program.

  • Training ensures you and your staff get the most benefit from your telepsychiatry program. This includes training for the providers who actually use the system as well as technical training for your IT staff. Costs range from around $200 to $2,000, depending on the number of users and complexity of your system.
  • The ideal telemedicine cart or case is modular and scalable so that it can grow as your program grows. An all-in-one system costs between $20,000 and $30,000 and includes the software, medical devices, and mobile cart.
  • Medical devices such as an ENT scope, examination camera, and digital telescope cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Author: Angela Escobar

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