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Telemedicine vs Telepsychiatry: Which Is Better For You?

Tele, as a prefix, means distant or far off, which means teleworking, telemedicine, and even telepsychiatry, are the provision of those services, from a distance.

When it comes to taking care of your health, telemedicine and telepsychiatry are imperative, particularly given the current circumstances which leaves most of us in isolation in the home.

Both services have many benefits, but which of them is better for you? Keep reading for details.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine concept with doctor and smartphone
Telemedicine is basically where you sit down at home, on the computer, and have a video call with your doctor. This idea of video conferencing with your doctor might sound daunting, but there are plenty of benefits.

  • Convenience & Accessibility

There’s nothing more frustrating than making a doctor’s appointment that doesn’t mean moving around work, appointments, and meetings. So, the idea of a quick video call is a tempting offer. You don’t have to worry about travel to and from the surgery or missing time off of work.

Of course, this is an important point for those who live rurally. It isn’t always as simple as making an appointment and turning up for rural patients. The ability to deal with a doctor quickly and efficiently is impossible without telemedicine!

  • Savings & Cost Effectiveness

With no need to travel to and from your doctor or move your day around, you are saving money. It also eliminates the need for non-urgent visits to the ER.

  • Extended Access

For rural patients, telemedicine offers extended access to specialists. Sadly, the current state of affairs in the US means that there are only 43 or so specialists per 100k rural patients. This means those patients have to travel further for appointments and wait longer while they’re at it. This is unacceptable for chronic illnesses or specific diseases in need of address.

Telepsychiatry

Telepsychiatry involves a variety of services from evaluations to therapy, education, and even medication management. It can be direct contact between a patient and a psychiatrist, but it may also involve a psychiatrist offering support to primary care providers. The benefits are vast.

  • Increased access to mental health care.
  • Offers patient care in the comfort of their own home.
  • Can improve integration between primary care and mental health care, thus improving outcomes.
  • Reduces the need for emergency room visits.
  • Reduces the wait for care.
  • Improves the continuity of care, as well as follow-up.
  • Reduces the need for childcare, travel, time off, etc.
  • Reduces transportation barriers, such as a long commute or a lack of transportation and reliance on public transport in rural communities.
  • Helps fight the stigma of mental health challenges.

A lot of people are reluctant to seek the mental health help they need, and doing so via a screen can be an excellent introduction for those people newly pursuing help. It may be easier to open up when you’re doing so from the comfort of your home. While the psychiatrist and patient not being in the same room could be seen as a drawback, it’s also a positive with patients feeling safe, secure, and feeling as though their privacy is being maintained.

Ultimately, they are both beneficial. The major difference is that telepsychiatry includes the whole service. As such, the service that’s best for you really depends on what you need from your health professional.

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