How many times have you heard it said that the internet has transformed modern life? Indeed it’s probably changed how you stay in touch with family and friends, purchase goods and services, and even search for information about health problems.
Telemedicine has been around for years, but its prevalence and popularity have grown since the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to healthcare from a phone, tablet, or computer has changed the game for many people, providing a safe, easy alternative to getting the care they need. Telemedicine can be a video chat with a doctor or a therapy session with a licensed therapist. If there’s medical attention you need it, chances are you can get it virtually. Due to the high costs of conventional mental health care, there has been a rise in the application of web-based technologies in recent years in the mental health space.
What is Telemedicine
The words telemedicine and Telehealth are often used interchangeably, both meaning virtual medical attention. A comprehensive definition provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration is:
“Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring, and remote admissions.”
According to American Telemed, more than half of U.S. hospitals have a telemedicine program. As years go by and things come up interfering with access to healthcare (like the pandemic) people are warming up to the idea of having this option and depending on telemedicine for convenient care.
The Mental Health Benefits to Telemedicine
As mentioned, mental health services are a part of the medical services provided virtually. Depending on your plan and how you receive your healthcare, you may have access to therapy appointments virtually, check-ups virtually, and other mental health-related appointments.
Additionally, there are other virtual options for mental health outside of what may be provided by your health insurance. Services like Better Help provide online services making therapy accessible to those unable to leave the house, without transportation, or those who simply feel more comfortable at home for therapy.
There are even more benefits to teletherapy including:
- Greater access to care: Those with disabilities, in rural areas and more have access.
- Lower cost: Overall, telemedicine proves to be less expensive, and there is no additional cost for missed appointments due to travel.
- Privacy: No worrying about seeing someone in the waiting room!
- While there are many positive aspects of online therapy, it’s worth noting the “cons” to keep in mind:
- Technical Difficulties: Anything you do online has a risk of not working or facing technical issues.
- Therapy Environment: Therapists create the ideal environment in their offices. Staying home will not give you that environment, and will depend on your living situation.
- Communication: While video chat does allow for seeing non-verbal cues and better communication, nothing is the same as one on one in-person therapy for picking up on all communication.
Telemedicine isn’t Right for Everyone
It is an independent decision if receiving medical care over the phone or computer is going to give you the same satisfaction and relief. While statistics do show promising responses and happy customers, there are downsides to depending on an internet connection for your healthcare.
While receiving healthcare virtually might not be for you, there are virtual tools and resources like the mooditude app to supplement care and help you to happiness. Download the Mooditude App today for access to a 24/7 chat forum full of various topics, a personal private journal, mood tracker, and more!