A Reference Guide written by Open Minds. In the past ten years, the availability of low-cost high quality video connection and virtually ubiquitous internet access has increased the ability to provide a range of telehealth services. As a result, a new group of health and human services organizations have formed that are offering technology-enabled services.

While people often think of the direct-to-consumer online telehealth market (our focus in this reference guide), there are many variants in the types of ‘telehealth’ programs in the field. In addition to facility-based provider organizations that provide telehealth services to their current consumers using their staff members, there are a range of new e-health organizations providing different types of services:

  1. Distribute telehealth services only through facility-based provider organizations
  2. Provide synchronous (live) services directly to consumers online through video
  3. Provide asynchronous and synchronous services directly to consumers online through text
  4. Provide asynchronous/expert system therapy services only through facility-based provider organizations
  5. Provide diagnostic services online
  6. Provide non-therapy wellness/recovery support services online through facility-based provider organizations or employee assistance programs
  7. Provide non-therapy wellness/recovery support services online directly to consumers

There are literally dozens (maybe hundreds) of organizations in this space. This reference guide specifically focuses on the organizations providing asynchronous and synchronous video and text-based telehealth services directly to consumers. Under these models, the consumers signs up online and can almost immediately begin receiving services.

Many of these organizations use a traditional telehealth format. Consumers sign-up for a session and talk with a licensed mental health professional via video or, occasionally, telephone. Available professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, and other licensed therapists. The consumer pays per session like a traditional in-office model. All organizations accept insurance, and self-pay is also available.

There are also programs that offer text-based therapy through a subscription. Under this model, services are not typically provided by psychologists or psychiatrists, but are always provided through licensed therapists. At the lowest levels of membership, consumers communicate via a text application asynchronously with their clinical professional. The therapist checks in once or twice a day. At the higher levels of membership, the clinical professional and consumer work together to determine both the most appropriate means of communication, and how often that communication will occur. This could be exclusively asynchronous text therapy, live text therapy, video sessions only, or a combination of all three.

 

Read the full article on the OPEN MINDS website.