Psychiatry’s “New Normal”
Traditional psychiatry embraces in-person visits and handwritten session notes to benefit patients. Unfortunately, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic made these visits impossible to maintain. The need to quarantine, practice social distancing, and wear masks meant psychiatrists and patients could not be in the same room for their sessions.
Instead, psychiatrists had to use technology to deliver their services. As the pandemic continues, digital care is an essential need that has been widely implemented in the psychiatric field. This trend is likely to continue long into the future.
Discover how the ongoing use of technology is expected to shape the future of psychiatric care.
Videoconferencing, electronic health records (EHRs), patient portals, passive data-collection tools on smartphones, and other technologies will be used to deliver psychiatric care. These virtual models include integrated care, residential psychiatric care, and asynchronous psychiatry.
The hybrid doctor-patient relationship will be managed through in-person visits, videoconferencing, patient portals, phone calls, texts, and emails. The psychiatrist will determine the appropriate communication methods based on the patient’s diagnosis, needs, and social and personal circumstances.
For instance, many patients prefer not to go to the office for a session to avoid dealing with traffic. As a result, virtual sessions increase the number of patients who show up for appointments. In contrast, patients with serious mental illnesses must be seen in person. They may lack the technical or social skills to use the phone or videoconferencing for sessions. Or, these individuals may require a visual assessment of their mental health status.
Increasing Need for Psychiatric Services
The demand for mental health support will continue to grow. Part of the reason is the impact of natural disasters such as the coronavirus. This is illustrated by the rising numbers of suicides, overdoses, and stress-related problems during the pandemic.
Cognitive dulling, anxiety, and depression have become increasingly common during the pandemic. These mental health issues are expected to remain long-term, further encouraging people to get psychiatric treatment.
Many individuals who put off seeking psychiatric care due to safety concerns will seek help when the pandemic is over. People experiencing mental health issues because of their experiences, such as unemployment, lack of insurance, and inability to pay for care, also will seek help.
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