Will Telepsychiatry Affect the Quality of Patient Care?

 Telepsychiatry is a relatively nascent subset of telemedicine which seeks to remotely providing a wide array of psychiatric evaluations and therapy using innovative technology. Apart from the aforementioned services, telemedicine has also emerged as a significant force in health promotion through medication management and patient education ({ConferennceSeries, 2017).

Telepsychiatry is, thus, bound to have a direct impact on the quality of care offered to psychiatric patients.  This is primarily due to its ability to foster direct correspondence between psychiatrists and patients through video conferencing. Furthermore, it also bolsters the capability of primary care providers by liaising with mental health care experts for consultations to aid in care delivery. Telepsychiatry has been hailed by most of its proponents as a practical, yet affordable healthcare option that can now be provided conveniently to mental health patients. This may, inadvertently, address health disparities by ensuring that access to mental health care is improved in remote inaccessible areas such as the mountainous rural expanse around Appalachia in West Virginia.

Additionally, its application is bound to ultimately improve care outcomes by combining the provision of primary and behavioral care. This will be particularly effective in reducing the emergency room cases and any accompanying delays commonly associated with such scenarios. The introduction of telepsychiatry also promises to address the stigma associated with mental healthcare by offering a discrete option for vulnerable sections of society (Maeder & Marcelo, 2016). Yet, one still has to consider the ethical dilemmas associated with recording and storing sessions. For instance, patient data may be compromised by malicious hackers known to target key medical data. Telepsychiatry also presents a rarely explored complication in relation to the duty of care during consultation since they may avoid assuming direct responsibility in case of an emergency.

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