Top Trends in Virtual Care in 2020

With telehealth being utilized more across the medical industry, new technology trends are beginning to emerge, creating more efficient ways for mental and behavioral healthcare professionals to connect with their patients. Because of the pandemic and regulations in place for social distancing across the country, these trends allow you to stay compliant while making the most of your patient time.

1. Telehealth as an Option to Connect

While some agencies continue to view telehealth as a temporary crutch, many others have considered the long-term benefits telehealth has to offer for both the patient and the mental and behavioral healthcare industry as a whole. Many users have touted the convenience and ease of using telehealth—including no time spent in the waiting room, reduced or elimination of commuting, ease of scheduling and keeping appointments. With telehealth platforms evolving to include enhanced technology, some facilities have opted to include group behavioral therapy sessions, to mirror a typical in-person group session. Additionally, intensive services such as medication-assisted therapy (MAT), cognitive processing therapy, or prolonged exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be administered via telehealth.

2. Fully Virtual Healthcare Centers

Because there is a span of rural areas across North America, offering an option of fully virtual facilities provides a new level of access for patients who may need access to mental or behavioral healthcare but do not live close to a physical practice. Virtual healthcare centers are not subjected to the same issues of geographical displacement and distance that traditional facilities contend with. A virtual center allows clients the appropriate platform to access their services no matter where they are located. 

3. Monitoring Patients Remotely

Because there are patients who suffer from a variety of mental or behavioral illnesses, requesting in-person office visits for certain services can spike symptoms such as anxiety and depression. With remote sessions happening, counselors can check in on their patients as frequently as they need to in order to monitor their health. They are able to keep them in an environment that is safe, preventing additional triggers for unwanted behavior. This is pertinent for patients who may have recently been released from a program regarding their behavior or mental state and need to be monitored regularly with their doctor and other healthcare members. 

4. Heightened Focus on Security

According to Natali Tshuva, CEO of IoT security company Sternum, “Recently hackers attempted to infiltrate the US Health and Human Services Department…are actively attacking hospitals, demanding ransom from dozens of medical institutions and targeting critical healthcare facilities across the globe.”

By choosing a secure and HIPPA-compliant telehealth solution to conduct remote sessions, the increased security that comes with these systems can deter those looking to interpret and steal critical information. As the healthcare industry is a common target for hacking due to the sensitive nature of information exchanged, it is essential to not only invest in a secure platform, but also train staff on the importance of security and measures they can take to form an added layer of protection. 

5. Medication Management

As practitioners continue to meet virtually with their clients one-on-one and in groups on a regular basis, they are able to continue making a determination on their behavior and treatment plans. This can also include facilitating medication management virtually, in some cases. Telehealth can help patients continue to adhere to their medication regimens by utilizing tools such monitored in-home dispensing devices and telephone counseling. Additionally, telehealth services such as family member and social services treatment coordination can also enhance patient outcomes.  

Telehealth is Here for the Long Run

Virtual care will play a large role in the future of healthcare because it is an easy, secure and instant way to connect patients and providers. If you are interested in learning more about how our integrated telehealth solution can facilitate increased patient sessions and help with operational hurdles, contact us today!

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