Healthcare facilities across the country are increasingly embracing telepsychiatry as a way to provide patients with quality mental health services, regardless of their zip code. By connecting patients and clinicians through live
If you’re planning to implement a telepsychiatry program, here are five essential steps to help ensure success.
1. Foster a collaborative approach
To create a strong program, your staff and telepsychiatrist should not only understand their specific
2. Get the technology right
A faulty connection or spotty video can quickly derail a patient session, so make sure your facility has the correct telepsychiatry technology in place. The good news? It doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment to launch a telepsychiatry program. To get started, you’ll need a quality internet connection with upload and download speeds of at least 4 Mbps, as well as a computer with a functioning camera and microphone. You’ll also want to ensure there’s a quiet, comfortable area for patients to sit during their sessions, establishing confidentiality from the start and helping to build trust between patients and clinicians. A partner with telepsychiatry expertise can be invaluable in helping to source the right technology, guiding you through setup, and providing staff with
3. Educate your patients
For many patients, telepsychiatry is a new – and potentially intimidating – way to see a clinician. Helping them understand the process can put their minds at ease, encouraging more of them to follow through on treatment. Explain to patients that they’ll be speaking to a clinician on-screen, and familiarize them with their clinician to help build patient-provider rapport. Most people are more comfortable with something new once they know what to expect. If patients can visualize how a session works, they’ll be more likely to try it.
4. Brush up on reimbursement rules
Telepsychiatry reimbursement varies significantly by
5. Put the right people in place
Telepsychiatry opens up your pool of potential clinicians significantly, making it easier to find the right fit for your patient population. Consider your clinician’s experience in various healthcare settings and whether they have specialized skills, such as working with children and adolescents or treating substance abuse issues. Once you’ve found your match, you’ll need to complete credentialing, just as you would for on-site clinicians. When vetting a clinician, organizations should run background checks and ask standard disclosure questions to identify any red flags, like whether clinicians have had privileges revoked or lost hospital membership. In addition, you’ll need to track down all relevant certifications and paperwork, such as educational and post-graduate training verifications. Since this process can be extremely time-consuming, particularly for smaller facilities, a partner can be a huge help in staying on top of requirements and easing the burden on in-house staff.
For more tips on a successful launch, download our free white paper, “4 Steps for Rolling Out a Successful Telepsychiatry Program.”