Let’s face it: these last few years have been difficult for everyone. We have faced the worst public health crisis in modern history. We’ve experienced the isolation of protracted lockdowns. And we’ve experienced layoffs and supply shortages, and the threat of a serious economic recession. We’re all dealing with a lot. That means that the need for accessible, affordable, and high-quality mental health care is greater than ever. That’s where your remote therapy services come in.
As a therapist, you are eager to meet that need for as many patients as possible and in the best ways possible. That may mean you are looking to launch new virtual care services or expand your remote care practice.
This article describes the best strategies for expanding your remote therapy practices, whether you are new to telemedicine or have been practising in the virtual space for a while.
Why Offer Remote Care?
Though telemedicine did not begin with the COVID-19 pandemic, the outbreak revealed virtual care’s immense potential. Not only did the widespread transition for remote physical and mental healthcare help mitigate the spread of the virus, but it also provided ready access to care for patients traditionally disenfranchised from the healthcare system.
The elderly, minorities, the poor, persons with disabilities, and those who live in rural areas suffered disproportionately from a lack of access to consistent healthcare. The deficiency has traditionally been especially pronounced in the domain of mental health.
The rising number of insurance providers who offer telepsychiatry has led to a proliferation of online mental health services. Consequently, this has opened doors to mental healthcare for once-marginalized groups as well as for those who may have refused in-person care due to a fear of stigmatization.
Implementing or expanding your remote care practice means you will inevitably be able to reach patients that once were inaccessible. You’re no longer limited by geographical distance, patient access to transportation, or patient resistance to in-office care.
Whether you’re implementing new virtual services or you’re seeking to expand your remote practice, the first priority is cybersecurity. Patients need complete confidence in regard to privacy and security when they access your portal via any device.
Optimal data security is essential for both the well-being of your patients and the protection of your business reputation. But that’s not all because failing to secure your practice’s proprietary information may well result in legal liability.
HIPAA standards, for example, still apply to the virtual space. You could face steep legal fines, the closure of your business, and even the revocation of your license to practice if you do not store or transmit your patients’ records securely or if appropriate measures aren’t taken to protect patients’ data from security breaches.
Leveraging Continuity of Care Opportunities
One of the most exciting aspects of remote practice is the ability to provide continuity of care when patients’ circumstances change. For instance, if the patient becomes ill or disabled, they may be unable to leave their homes at a time when they are likely to be most in need of care. Remote therapy can prevent loss of access to your patients at a time when they are likely facing the greatest risk to their mental health.
Similarly, transitioning to a new therapist can be traumatic if a patient moves out of state. However, you can continue to work with them through remote care, provided that you are licensed to practice in the patient’s new home state.
Unleashing the Power of Online Technology
The immense adaptability of remote therapy is another benefit when you are looking to expand your virtual practice. For instance, implementing administrative tools, such as an online booking system, can help you mitigate the impact of last-minute cancellations.
The instant, on-demand care that remote platforms enable, combined with the use of automated booking technologies, means that you’re going to be far more likely to maintain a steady flow of appointments, efficiently filling scheduling gaps when patients cancel or do not appear.
Remote therapy is an ideal way to meet a vast and growing need for accessible, affordable, and high-quality mental healthcare. However, instituting or expanding your remote therapy practice doesn’t just happen. It requires some planning and preparation. Building and growing a strong telepsychiatry practice depends first on creating and maintaining a stellar cybersecurity platform. It also means capitalizing on opportunities for continuation of care in established patients. They may be facing an illness, lost access to transportation, or may relocate out of state. Finally, to launch or grow your virtual practice, you will want to avail yourself of the latest administrative technologies, such as online booking systems, to support efficiency and productivity.