The Future of Telehealth Appointments for Counseling Services
The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed many aspects of life, including the manner in which mental health care is delivered. Since seeing patients in person has come with serious risks for nearly a year, your practice has probably shifted largely or entirely online.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, 64% of mental health practices were not using telehealth prior to the pandemic. However, two months into the crisis, 85% were seeing more than three-quarters or all of their patients virtually.
Hopefully, at some point this year it will be safe to see patients in-person again, but that doesn’t mean you should stop offering telehealth services. Here are a few benefits you’ll realize by continuing to give patients the option for virtual appointments.
Make Appointments More Convenient
Your patients are busy people, which can make getting to appointments difficult. By continuing to provide telehealth, you’ll save them the time driving to and from your office, which can make a huge difference. When patients can meet with you anywhere, it’s much easier to fit valuable mental healthcare into their schedule.
Serve a Broader Patient Base
When patients don’t have to come into your office, they don’t need to be located in your geographic area. This can help increase your patient load because you’re not limited to those within easy driving distance. Many people in rural areas don’t have easy access to quality mental healthcare, so providing telehealth will allow you to connect with them.
Attract Patients Who Prefer Discretion
You know seeking mental healthcare is a brave thing to do, but unfortunately, many people still feel like there’s a stigma attached it. Therefore, those who are uncomfortable with it will likely be more willing to schedule telehealth services than visiting a physical office location. If all they have to do is log in to an online platform for appointments, they won’t have to ask their boss for time off or explain why they’re in your part of town, if they run into someone they know.
Get People to Open Up More
No doubt, your office is a warm and inviting place. However, some people have trouble getting comfortable enough in a new place to really open up. This is a non-issue when appointments can be completed via telehealth, as most patients will be in their homes. When patients are in a place where they feel totally at ease, it will be much easier to get them to share their feelings.
Gain Added Insights
It’s no secret that you can learn a lot about a person from their home — and this is also true for patients. Seemingly small clues like a mess in the background or constant interruptions from a small child can help you get a more well-rounded view of the patient’s life. This can help you provide better care because the more you know about a patient, the better you’re able to understand them.