The long-running TeamBuilders Counseling Services always predicated its medical offerings on this question: Is it really necessary for a doctor to be in the same room as his patient, when administering treatment? In many fields of medicine, of course, the answer is yes. For psychiatric care and counseling, however, direct, in-the-room treatment is not quite as necessary. In fact, in frontier or rural areas where doctors are in short supply and travel times can add up quickly, telepsychiatry has become a patient-friendly, cost-saving, quality-boosting solution, revolutionizing the entire medical profession.
For many years, TeamBuilders Counseling Services was at the forefront of that revolution. The company was founded in 1995, and within a decade’s time had built a truly standard-setting telepsychiatry operation. Telehealth is becoming a bigger and bigger deal in communities across the country. In the paragraphs that follow, some of the professionals from TeamBuilders Counseling Services explain why this is the case, listing some specific benefits that telehealth can offer.
According to many healthcare experts, there are innumerable benefits that telehealth offers. Again, it is important to note that these benefits are not extended to every medical discipline; one would not want a remote surgeon, but a remote counselor is another matter altogether! With that said, there are many instances of telehealth rendering amazing benefits to patients, origination centers, and physicians alike.
The benefits to patients are, of course, the most important of all. Team Builders Counseling Services explains that patients with access to telehealth often have better outcomes, because they receive timelier attention from specialists. This is an especially salient point to make about healthcare in rural areas; waiting a week or more for the region’s one specialist to make an appearance is clearly a less effective option than having quick access to medical care via a telehealth site.
TeamBuilders also notes that telehealth can help to reduce unnecessary admissions or readmissions. Remote monitoring and remote consultations with clinicians means that patients can better manage their health situations without having to leave home or check into a specialized facility, unless it is truly imperative to do so.
In much the same way, TeamBuilders Counseling Services launched its own services on the notion that telehealth can help patients avoid unnecessary transfers to other facilities, when a remote specialist can more accurately and effectively evaluate the best choice for ongoing care.
These benefits to patients are significant—but what makes telehealth such a vital component of today’s healthcare machinery is that it also offers efficiency-boosting, cost-saving benefits to doctors and medical groups. (This, in turn, offers further boosts to the quality of patient care.)
Consider some of the benefits that telehealth offers to origination sites. Telehealth enables the clinical staff at these sites to obtain access to a specialist, when that specialist is needed to provide consultation of care for a particular patient, or for the community in general. This is a more cost-effective approach than trying to keep a specialist on hand and on-site at all times.
Practices that engage in telehealth can cut their own costs in some significant ways, without having to sacrifice or compromise on patient care. Certainly, facilities that utilize traveling physicians can dramatically scale back on travel times, and ensure that their doctors are spending more time actually serving patients. Also, originating sites that use telehealth technology can retain some patients instead of transferring them into another facility—and possibly another healthcare system altogether. This leads to retention of the revenues associated with the care of that patient.
TeamBuilders Counseling Services also suggests that telehealth is advantageous for physicians. For example, doctors can extend their own clinical reach, serving a number of patients who could benefit from their clinical experience—even patients in neighboring or semi-distant regions. In some cases, tele-consultation results in on-call pay, as well, which is certainly not a bad thing!
More than anything else, though, TeamBuilders maintains that physicians who use telehealth technology can save time traveling between different facilities to see patients, which enables them to boost their productivity and improve their quality of life. Again, these advantages do not mean sacrifices in patient care. Telehealth is, in many ways, a true win-win.
All of this is to say that, when TeamBuilders Counseling Services first launched its telepsychiatry options, years back, it may have been seen as something rather unusual. Today, however, few object to telehealth, or see it as anything less than an increasingly logical solution to many of America’s healthcare problems. Patients, practices, and doctors all stand to benefit from following the example laid out by TeamBuilders Counseling Services.