Beneficial Partners: Teletherapy + Telepsychiatry

February 9, 2024 | Teletherapy

Telehealth, in general, has had staying power since exploding in popularity — in part out of necessity — during the COVID-19 pandemic. And within it are several specialties. 


Physicians are using it. So are pharmacists, radiologists and dermatologists. At innovaTel, a company founded originally with telepsychiatry in mind, we’ve implemented telehealth practices to support not only remote psychiatry, but also Medical Directors, licensed clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners and licensed professional counselors. 


Organizations utilizing a combination of telepsychiatry and teletherapy to improve access to care for the patients they are serving in their individual communities, have found the combination of teletherapy, offered by licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical social workers, and telepsychiatry to be beneficial partners — particularly in an era of increased demand for care.


While statistics in recent years previously indicated that 1 in 5 people live with a mental illness, that ratio had been forecast to migrate toward 1 in 3 during, and in the wake of, the pandemic. However, recent research conducted by Harvard Medical School suggests 50% of the world’s population will develop a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. 


As the stigma associated with mental health conditions declines and the incidence of conditions increases, the increased demand for care has put pressure on organizations as they work to offer timely, high-quality care to patients while managing the rising clinical costs associated with delivering that care.


Coupling teletherapy with telepsychiatry is one way to help meet an organization’s needs, from care delivery to cost containment. Most notably, recent reimbursement changes made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have broadened the scope of provider types who are eligible for telehealth reimbursement.


Where telehealth services reimbursement previously excluded licensed professional counselors, its inclusion opens a door for organizations to build capacity and meet the needs of patients in a more cost-effective way.  


Teletherapy, offered by licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and LCSWs, is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy often referred to as talk therapy. Telepsychiatry may also involve cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to psychiatric evaluations, diagnosis of conditions and medication management. 


By adding both to a practice, an organization has the ability to give patients options, reduce wait times for treatment and build teams that work together, even in a remote setting. In addition, research suggests that teletherapy doesn’t just help with cost containment but it is well-received by patients. 


A recent survey conducted by Forbes revealed that nearly two-thirds of those who tried teletherapy found it to be effective. 


In addition to its efficacy, teletherapy provides patients with increased access to care. When organizations build capacity by adding remote licensed professional counselors and LCSWs to their teams, appointments are more readily available in a more timely manner.


Teletherapy also reduces costs for patients, by many times eliminating transportation or childcare costs, which can sometimes present as financial and logistical barriers to those in need of care. And, when teletherapy is delivered, it is done so in a way that offers privacy and reduces a patient’s exposure to infectious illnesses. 


Put simply, teletherapy meets a patient where they are, just like telepsychiatry does. And when paired together, organizations have a greater ability to meet the increasing demands for care within the communities they serve.


Learn more about teletherapy by visiting our services page.

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