Benefits

Background

Patients living in rural and underserved communities often suffer from limited access to psychiatric treatment by trained psychiatrists.
Clinics and agencies often struggle to recruit and retain psychiatrists and often find it necessary to contract with expensive consultants.

These factors reduce the quality of mental health services available to patients in rural and underserved communities, forcing patients to travel long distances to obtain mental health services, or forgo such services altogether.

Benefits

  • Reduced patient waiting lists for appointments
  • Immediate availability of emergency psychiatric assessments and interventions
  • Patients access to a wider range of experts
  • Reduced travel time and costs
  • Reduced care delays
  • Continuity of care assurance
  • Stigma reduction
    • Secure
    • Safe
    • Private
    • Improved quality of care
    • Cost-effective for both provider and patient
    • Access to more providers than are often available in rural areas
    • Less stigma than visiting a local provider no matter how appropriate and needed
    • Access to specialty providers for those with PTSD and specialty mental health services
    • No travel costs for patient or provider (gas, parking, transportation, etc)
    • No interruption of service due to bad weather (Snow, ice)
    • Access to qualified, certified and trained mental health providers
    • Reduced wait time when scheduling an appointment
    • Integrate mental health care with standard medical care
    • Better follow-up
    • Easier access for those with physical disabilities, age, driving restrictions

Other Benefits

  • Better integration of specialty mental health services into the patient’s health care more generally.
  • Reduced costs for accessing specialty mental health services (e.g., time, travel costs).
  • Reduced wait time
  • Improved continuity of care and follow-up

Benefits for Provider Organizations

  • Greater ability to offer specialty mental health services to patients in a more consistent and flexible manner than otherwise possible.
  • Improved quality of mental health care for patients.
  • The Ability to provide mental health services in a more cost-effective manner than face-to-face services when travel time and costs are considered.
  • Greater job satisfaction (and improved retention) for both rural non-specialty and non-rural specialty mental health clinicians.
  • Increased flexibility in work schedules.
  • Ability to practice in states where licensed but not physically located.

More Benefits!

  • High consumer and practitioner satisfaction.
  • The technology is available now and can be easily tailored to program, practitioner, and patient needs.
  • Telemental health communications are secure and confidential.
  • Costs are typically reduced overall for patients and provider organizations, even when including start-up costs for the necessary technological infrastructure.