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April 2017

Telepsychiatry Helps Businesses Realize Better Outcomes For All

Get Well Soon: Telepsychiatry Helps Businesses Realize Better Outcomes For All

By Barry Doan, MSW In today’s busy, on-demand world, more employers are offering online or telemedicine services to employees to give them the ability to speak with a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner remotely. Telemedicine is not only convenient for employees who don’t have to take time off work for an appointment, but also helps employers reduce the cost of hospitalizations. While two-thirds of employers currently offer employees access to telemedicine services, that number is expected to increase to 90 percent by 2018. One popular form of telemedicine is telepsychiatry, a clinical model that uses videoconferencing to provide psychiatry and mental health services, such as evaluations, consultations and ongoing treatment. It allows employees to receive mental health care through live, interactive communication with a licensed provider in a private setting, whether that’s at work, at home or in a healthcare facility. Telepsychiatry is particularly useful given the severe shortage of psychiatrists, which limits access to critical care and results in long wait times.

Impact of mental illness on employers

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability, accounting for one-third of new disability claims in 2015. Depression is among the top workplace challenges for employee assistance programs, along with family crisis and stress. While most employers provide coverage for mental health care, benefits and services aimed at preventing or reducing depression are often underutilized by employees for a variety of reasons. For example, they may have difficulty finding an in-network psychiatry provider in their area, trouble making an appointment that fits around their work schedule or employees may feel stigmatized or embarrassed by their condition. Untreated mental health issues are costly to employers. The total economic burden of major depression, for example, is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year — nearly half of which is attributed to the workplace, including missed work days and reduced output. Further cost implications can also be attributed to treating medical conditions that often coexist with depression. Employees who suffer depression frequently have other medical conditions that occur at the same time, including diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart disease, chronic pain and insomnia. Treating these coexisting problems can significantly drive up costs. For example, researchers found that for every dollar spent treating depression, $1.55 was spend on depression workplace costs, while $2.13 was spent on treating coexisting disorders.

Advantages of offering a telepsychiatry benefit to employees

Investing in the mental wellbeing of employees creates measurable returns. Research by the American Psychiatric Foundation found that after only three weeks of mental health treatment, the number of work-impaired employees with behavioral health conditions was reduced by half, and after a little more than four months of treatment, two-thirds were no longer work-impaired. Telepsychiatry can help employers improve productivity and profitability. Here are five reason why:
  1. Convenient
Providing convenient access to psychiatric and mental health care via telepsychiatry can help reduce absenteeism, tardiness and anger issues by allowing employees access to easy and convenient treatments thus enabling more consistent work attendance. Online appointments allow busy professionals to easily access specialty behavioral health services in a private and comfortable setting. Employees can also schedule appointments outside of traditional weekday time slots, such as weekends or in the evening, which reduces travel time and time away from work. By providing enhanced access to care, employees are more likely to engage in services more proactively and routinely.
  1. Prompt
When behavioral health issues are left untreated, they tend to get progressively worse. With telepsychiatry, employees have prompt access to routine care that reduces the chance of the condition becoming urgent or emergent. In light of the dramatic shortage of mental health providers, resources are scarce, driving up wait times to be seen in person. Telepsychiatry meets employees where they are, offering them faster access to care. Accessing telepsychiatry through online platforms not only allows for real-time diagnosis and treatment, but also provides more opportunities for communication between the employee and their mental health provider between sessions.
  1. Increased well-being
Employees who suffer from behavioral health issues cost employers $44 billion per year in lost productivity, mostly in the form of presenteeism — when employees are physically but not mentally present or working at full capacity. Offering mental health care not only reduces employee stress but improves morale. One study found employees who completed just one session with a mental health provider experienced significant improvement in work performance. Employers reported increased productivity and substantial improvement in overall mental health.
  1. Private
Telepsychiatry protects employee privacy and confidentiality just as in-person care does. Moreover, many find that not being in the same room as the provider actually enhances feelings of safety for many. Accessing appointments online also eliminates the possibility of running into co-workers in waiting rooms and/or psychiatry providers’ offices, which can be uncomfortable and contribute to anxiety.
  1. Quality care
Telepsychiatry is has been clinically proven to deliver high quality care that meets the standard of traditional in-person care for diagnostic accuracy, treatment, effectiveness, quality of care and patient satisfaction. Telepsychiatry offers enhanced access to care, which improves an employee’s ability to use services proactively and routinely, and providers can diagnose and prescribe medicine in the same way an in-person psychiatrist can. Through telepsychiatry, employees and employers can experience better outcomes across the board. Barry Doan has more than 30 years of behavioral health industry experience and now works for Inpathy, a division of the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization that delivers telepsychiatry directly to employees and other individuals online.

March 2017

Telepsychiatry: Reaching More Patients For Better Outcomes

By Dr. Jim Varrell, InSight's Medical Director. Every year, about 42.5 million Americans struggle with mental illness — enduring stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, mood disorders or other psychological concerns. Despite the availability of treatment most people don’t get the help they need, not necessarily due to stigma or denial, but because they can’t: it’s inconvenient or mental healthcare providers aren’t available in their area or within the time frame they need an appointment.   Read the Full Article 

January 2017

Leaders in Mental Health Join Forces to Address Issue #B4Stage4

#B4Stage4 is an in-depth, online program specifically aimed at those working to improve mental health across the nation. It examines the challenges facing the country, the success of MHA’s online screening tools; innovations in the field that allow personalized pathways for all patients; and continued support and understanding in managing any condition.

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Press Releases

April 2017

Webinar: More Referral Options for EAPs with Telepsychiatry

In today’s busy, on-demand world, more employers are offering online services to employees so that they can meet with a psychiatry or therapy provider remotely from home or another private space. Telepsychiatry is the application of telehealth specifically to psychiatry, mental and behavioral health services through online video calls and appointments. Learn more about this rapidly growing psychiatry and behavioral health post-program referral resource in an upcoming webinar designed especially for EAPs.

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March 2017

Inpathy Gets a Makeover

February 20, 2017 | Inpathy has launched a new look for its website, Inpathy is dedicated to making it easy for people to get access to psychiatric, behavioral and mental health care through convenient, online video calls. As a unique form of care, Inpathy brings life-changing behavioral health care directly into people’s home or any other private place.

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Video Library

Why Moms Love Their Inpathy Private Practices

The Consumer Experience with Telebehavioral Health

Why Children and Teens Love Telebehavioral Health

Telebehavioral health and the Human Connection

MHA and InSight Team Up to Address Mental Illness #B4Stage4 with Telehealth

The Consumer Experience with Telebehavioral Health