Telemedicine

SF Bay Psychiatry

What is Telemedicine?


Telemedicine is care that you receive via video-conference.  This technology has existed for a long time.  However recent advancements in the field have allowed for great expansion in its applications and use.  Now one only needs a data connection to be able to receive expert care from providers that are sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away.  This has allowed us to treat people that otherwise would not have otherwise received any care.  This has been used to help people in all fields from surgery to psychiatry.


How does it work?


Our practice uses Zoom software to provide a HIPAA-compliant connection over any data connection.  Once the appointment is made in our system it generates a URL for that appointment.  Simply click on the link or paste it into your browser and off we go!  There is a web-app that must be downloaded the first time a device is used for an appointment.  After that as many people as you feel appropriate can attend the appointment with us.  


What are the rules for Telemedicine?


They are generally very simple.  All patients and/or guardians must review and sign and informed consent discussing the risks, benefits and details.  The patient and the provider must both be located in states or countries in which the provider is licensed to practice.  With each appointment we must discuss your location and local contact details in case of emergency.  


What are the benefits of Telemedicine?

​The biggest benefit for my clients is the ease it offers your life.  Imagine attending appointments on your lunch break and not needing to take time off work to commute to my office.  Maybe only one parent can take off of work to attend their child's appointment.  With telemedicine the other parent could still attend by videoconference!  Concerned about your child missing school for appointments?  We can work with your child's school to make arrangements for them to have an appointment without leaving campus!  The applications are endless-- your child is going to college but wants to keep seeing me while they are away; you are running late for your appointment and don't want to miss it; you are sick and don't want to make the effort to commute to my office.  All of these are opportunities for telemedicine.  


How can you provide good care by videoconference?


This is probably the most common question.  That's why so many studies have been done to make sure that this is a good idea.  Every time we study telemedicine the results are the same-- patient satisfaction is high and the care is just as good as in person.  As a person who loves being a therapist I definitely think there are many times when face to face is best.  Still most of our hesitancy with video-based care is our own discomfort with the technology.  Those people who have used it enough socially or in their work really enjoy the experience.  


I'm still not sure about this.


Absolutely, it makes sense to be hesitant.  Especially when it comes to the nature of mental health care.  Give me a call and let's talk about your questions and I can share more details to see if this idea will work for you.