Telehealth what is it and how does it work?

Telehealth what is it and how does it work?

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

Telehealth: What is it and how does it work?

More people than ever are choosing telehealth therapy for their mental health needs. Telehealth therapy enables you to meet with a therapist online and from the safety of your own home. You can speak to a therapist from anywhere in the world to get the help needed to recover from mental health issues.

Whether you want to speak over video chat, telephone, or through a telehealth company’s secure platform, you are able to talk to someone to get relief. Some telehealth companies provide text therapy, giving you the chance to communicate throughout the day with a counselor. Today, there are multiple large providers of telehealth therapy. These brands hire experienced counselors and therapists to speak with clients. A simple Google search will return a variety of telehealth companies to choose from.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the delivery of health services via telecommunications and digital communication technologies. Services include medical care from providers to patients. Also known as online medical care, telehealth therapy provides an important service to a vulnerable population1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334286/. Not everyone can attend therapy or a residential rehab program. Therefore, telehealth services provide individuals unable to attend these physical programs with the therapy needed.

Many of the telehealth therapy groups provide clients the chance to speak about their issues. However, online health providers offer much more to clients than just a platform to speak about mental health and/or addiction problems.

There are other services provided by telehealth. Clients may track their food intake and share their information with a dietician. You may speak with a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor through email about mental health problems. There is also telemedicine that gives individuals information about their symptoms. During COVID-19, telehealth and telehealth therapy have helped millions of people.

Telehealth for therapy

Telehealth therapy is great for people who find speaking to people in person difficult. It allows them to be in the comfort of their own home while speaking to the therapist. It is also a good fit for people with busy schedules, who find it difficult to schedule in-person sessions. Therapy and mental health still have stigmas attached to them. By accessing therapy online, you may feel more comfortable speaking to a therapist.

Online therapy makes life easier for people, just like many of the other services now provided to people via the Internet.

Some of the issues telehealth therapy helps clients with are:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Food and eating issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress
  • Obsessions and compulsions (OCD)
  • Parenting issues

 

Research has been conducted on the effectiveness of telehealth therapy. It appears online-based therapy could be just as effective as in-person sessions. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy may be just as perfect for online deliver as it is for face-to-face therapy.

Mental health professionals and therapy are not always accessible for everyone. Therefore, telehealth therapy could be perfect for you.

Reasons to select telehealth therapy over in-person therapy include:

 

  • Living too far away from a mental health provider
  • Having a busy work and/or personal life schedule
  • Being uncomfortable with in-person therapy sessions

 

There are some reasons not to use telehealth therapy. These include:

 

  • If you are suffering from severe psychological or emotional problems.
  • If you have severe depression
  • If you experience suicidal thoughts
  • If you are bipolar
  • If you are schizophrenic

 

Anyone experiencing the above issues should seek immediate medical attention. In addition to these issues, a person uncomfortable using technology should stick to in-person therapy. An individual with a lack of privacy for online sessions should use face-to-face sessions.

How to find the right provider

You should do your research before deciding on a telehealth therapy provider. Some people that offer telehealth therapy are not qualified therapists. The treatment provided isn’t effective and may be dangerous. In addition, working with a non-qualified person allows them to gain your personal information.

Ensure your online therapist is licensed in your state before attending an online session. Your online therapist should have a master’s degree and some relevant experience in mental health therapy. Telehealth therapy is a great tool for individuals in need of help, but getting the wrong therapist can prevent you from getting better.

There are companies like Better Help that provide online therapy to clients through their own platform. Clients can sign in to access therapy sessions and other resources on offer. There are some therapists who are offering online therapy sessions through Zoom, Skype, and other online communication programs. You should ensure your therapist is capable of using online technology to provide a high-quality service.

One of the most significant reasons people access online therapy is the price. Telehealth therapy is oftentimes cheaper than in-person sessions. In the long-term, any discount in price can be significant.

Pros and cons of telehealth therapy

Online therapy has its pros and cons. It doesn’t suit everyone, but can be the ideal mental health service for some. If you are considering therapy, you should definitely research online sessions to see if they meet your needs.

Pros of telehealth therapy include:

 

  • Accessibility – Telehealth therapy is accessible to almost anyone anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. It is great for individuals with a busy schedule.
  • Accountability – You are held accountable for your appointment as it is virtual. It may be easy to skip your in-person appointment, but having it available online means you are less likely to skip it.
  • Group Dynamics – You can engage and interact with people in group therapy sessions with others from a long distance away.

 

Some of the cons of telehealth therapy are:

 

  • Nonverbal communication – There isn’t a lot of nonverbal communication. In-person sessions allow you to be seen by a therapist who can take nonverbal cues.
  • Confidentiality – An online therapy company’s information can be hacked and your payment information could be stolen.
  • Equipment – Some therapists may not be highly skilled with telecommunications equipment. In addition, you may not receive a high-quality online connection.
  • Addressing severe issues – A therapist may not be able to diagnose severe mental health issues that lead to more issues for the client.
  • Financial problems – Online therapy is cheaper than in-person sessions. However, many insurance providers do not cover telehealth therapy sessions. Therefore, your bills could pile up quickly.

 

Telehealth therapy is a great service for clients seeking mental health help. The ease of access, price, and accountability it offers makes it a great choice. If you are in need of therapy, you may consider online sessions.

Online Rehab: What is it and how does it work?

Not every person is able to attend residential rehab. The good news for those individuals is there is another option to aid in the recover from alcohol and/or drug disorders. Online rehab is one way in which a person can get the addiction treatment needed to live a clean and sober lifestyle.

Online rehab is a service offered via Zoom, Skype, or video conference platforms provided by a treatment center. Online rehab makes it possible for clients to get a range of services from the comfort of their home over the Internet. One-to-one sessions, group therapy, and much more is on offer from rehab providers. Service providers offer a range of products and features giving clients the chance to get the most out of their rehab experience.

Skills and tools are taught via counsellors. Evidence-based practices may be offered to teach clients ways to live life without drugs and alcohol. The top online rehab programs employ well-educated, experienced counselors to help clients.

What are the benefits of online rehab?

There are a number of benefits to online rehab. Perhaps the most important benefit is that an individual can begin right away without needing to make plans and arrangements to attend a residential facility. Clients can get the help they need right away.

Other benefits of online rehab include:

 

  • Convenience as clients can attend therapy sessions from anywhere with Internet access.
  • Privacy is granted to clients through HIPAA laws, but there is added privacy as clients do not have to engage with other residents.
  • Treatment is provided by trained experts, just like in residential rehab. The big difference is clients can remain in the comfort of home.
  • Social support is provided by face-to-face interaction with counselors and sober partners.

 

How does online rehab work?

There are different types of rehabs online. Potential clients have some choices when it comes to alcohol and drug addiction recovery:

 

  • Online IOP is online drug rehab with an intensive outpatient treatment program. This is perfect for individuals who have previously completed detox and inpatient rehab.
  • Self-directed online substance abuse treatment offers interactive workbooks or videos that can be downloaded by the client. Individuals in need of more structure may choice another type of online rehab, however.
  • Online recovery support groups offer peer support and regular online engagement with a clean and sober support system. An example of online recovery support groups include 12-Step Fellowships. There are a number of online recovery support groups available.

 

Is online rehab a good fit for me?

Online rehab offers you many of the same benefits of residential or outpatient rehab. If you are ready to end the cycle of alcohol and drugs, then contacting an online rehab provider will allow you to learn more about specific treatment programs.

You may be able to cover the cost of rehab online with your insurance. Many of the top rehab centers around the world now offer treatment programs over the Internet. It gives you the chance to access the care needed and get clean and sober as soon as possible.

References: Telehealth and Teletherapy

  1. Waller M, Stotler C. Telemedicine: a primer. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2018;18:54. 10.1007/s11882-018-0808-4 []
  2. Hurst EJ. Evolutions in telemedicine: from smoke signals to mobile health solutions. J Hosp Librariansh 2016;16:174–85. 10.1080/15323269.2016.1150750 []
  3. Dorsey ER, Topol EJ. State of telehealth. N Engl J Med 2016;375:154–61. 10.1056/NEJMra1601705 []
  4. Zahnd WE, Fogleman AJ, Jenkins WD. Rural-urban disparities in stage of diagnosis among cancers with preventive opportunities. Am J Prev Med 2018;54(5):688–98. 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.021 [PubMed] []
  5. Rabuñal R, Suarez-Gil R, Golpe R, Martínez-García M, Gómez-Méndez R, Romay-Lema E, et al. Usefulness of a telemedicine tool TELEA in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemed J E Health 2020;tmj.2020.0144. 10.1089/tmj.2020.0144 [PubMed] []
  6. Kane CK, Gillis K. The use of telemedicine by physicians: still the exception rather than the rule. Health Aff (Millwood) 2018;37(12):1923–30. 10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05077 [PubMed]
  7. Hollander JE, Carr BG. Virtually perfect? telemedicine for Covid-19. N Engl J Med 2020;382:1679–81. 10.1056/NEJMp2003539 []
  8. Greenhalgh T, Wherton J, Shaw S, et al. . Video consultations for covid-19. BMJ 2020;368:m998. 10.1136/bmj.m998 []
  9. Powell RE, Henstenburg JM, Cooper G, et al. . Patient perceptions of telehealth primary care video visits. Ann Fam Med 2017;15:225–9. 10.1370/afm.2095 [PubMed]
  10. Ducharme J. The coronavirus outbreak could finally make telemedicine mainstream in the U.S. TIME: Time Magazine, 2020. []
  11. Scott Kruse C, Karem P, Shifflett K, et al. . Evaluating barriers to adopting telemedicine worldwide: a systematic review. J Telemed Telecare 2018;24:4–12. 10.1177/1357633X16674087 []
Summary
Telehealth What is it and how does it work?
Article Name
Telehealth What is it and how does it work?
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You should do your research before deciding on a telehealth therapy provider. Some people that offer telehealth therapy are not qualified therapists. The treatment provided isn’t effective and may be dangerous. In addition, working with a non-qualified person allows them to gain your personal information.
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