If you’re a mental health professional, you’ll know how COVID-19 has put a wrench in the works. With the industry changing overnight, practitioners have had to overcome physical and technological hurdles while maintaining responsibility towards patient wellbeing. Even now, in-practice consultations are not possible for many, and therapists have had to find new ways to operate in these challenging times, while still meeting patients’ needs.
As the pandemic continues to make waves across the globe, and if you haven’t done so already, it’s vital that you work towards adapting your practice to meet the demands of the new world. While this is particularly challenging for mental health professionals because there’s an essential intimacy needed between patients and therapists, we’ve got some tips to share on making your practice as connected as possible, while still keeping you and your patients safe.
Let’s take a look!
Telehealth Services That Mental Health Professionals Can Offer
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired the widespread use of Telehealth and it’s changed the way we view practice management. From appointments to errands, you can now get the most out of your day, all from the comfort of your home.
Online Booking and Feedback
If you haven’t already, you can say goodbye to telephone booking and hello to the fantastic and convenient use of an online booking system.
Let’s be honest; like the rest of us, our patients lead busy lives. It’s difficult for most to find the time to book essential appointments during office hours, and having after hour telephone support isn’t generally an option.
With online booking, your patients can book their appointment 24/7, while focusing on other tasks. In addition, you’ll likely attract new customers as they’ll appreciate the convenience. It’s also a simple way to capture patient details for future use.
You can use your system for post-appointment feedback, making it the perfect way to grow your business.
You can use Telehealth for initial appointments to assess your patients’ needs. Through this discussion, you can determine if your patient requires therapy, medication, a referral, or clinic intervention.
Whether it’s group therapy, family therapy, couple’s therapy, or an individual appointment, treatment is possible via Telehealth.
Your patients may even be more open as they’re sharing with you from the comfort of their homes.
Medication management appointments are often relatively quick, and in-office appointments can be highly inconvenient for patients. These quick check-ins and conversations are preferable for many clients and practitioners.
But, even if it’s possible to conduct an appointment via Telehealth, why would you?
Well, here are 4 major benefits for you as a mental health professional:
4 Benefits of Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals
In a post-COVID world, Telehealth could be here to stay. While there’s something special about a face-to-face appointment, there are some fantastic benefits of telehealth, including:
You don’t need to be in the office to see your patients. Instead, you can set up your Telehealth office from the comfort of your home. This will save you travel time and allow you to work on chores or personal projects between patients, perhaps unlocking the key to your work/life balance.
Flexibility for Patients
Travelling to a therapy appointment can be challenging, particularly if you’re a parent or a working professional. Telehealth opens a whole new world for patients and will likely attract more people to seek the support they need.
As long as your patient is in a quiet space without interruptions, online appointments can happen anywhere. Therefore, you’re likely to fill more slots during office hours.
Broaden Your Reach
With Telehealth, your options are endless. Gone are the days where you’ll need to treat patients in your area. You can market your services widely by taking advantage of the online world, and use the media to attract patients from across the country and even the globe.
If you build an outstanding reputation for yourself, you can use this opportunity to take your practice to the next level.
Earn More Income
With a broader reach and flexible office hours, you could earn a lot more than you previously did. Since you can work from home and dictate your hours, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule patients at any time you wish. In addition, you can take patients when you previously would have been travelling, and likely reduce no-shows as a Telehealth call is a lot more convenient than travelling to an office.
While laws differ from one country to the next, you’ll generally be allowed to charge the same for a digital appointment as you would for a live consultation.
Then, if you’re using a product that integrates with your current practice management software or you have an in-platform solution like Power Diary, you can conveniently invoice and even take payments online.
Setting up Your Telehealth Practice and Choosing the Best Software
As you know, mental health work is a highly personal area. You’ll need a lot of creativity and resilience to give your patients the same experience they would have received in a personal office setting. The aim is to create the ultimate, smooth experience to reduce unnecessary stress for all parties involved.
First, get creative. You can set up your space with a simple and clean background. According to colour psychology, whites, blues, and greens are calming colours to consider. However, if you’re feeling particularly inventive, you could use a screen or put up a beautiful piece of fabric. Alternatively, some software options have virtual backgrounds to select from. Just make sure you don’t turn yourself into a cat!
Practice Makes Perfect
The most important advice: get to know your software before seeing your first patient.
Telehealth software can be complicated, and the last thing you want to do is rope your patients into dealing with your early-stage hiccups. Practice with friends and family, or get in touch with a professional who can help streamline your experience.
To ensure that you have the best chance of a successful session with a client, you can use Power Diary’s clinical notes feature.
Choose the Right Software
With a myriad of options out there, shop around to find the software that best suits the needs of your practice.
The ideal software will be:
- User friendly
At Power Diary, our Telehealth software has been built from the ground up so it’s robust, fully secure and easy to use. In addition, our team will gladly be available to help run you through the Telehealth features so you can enjoy a smooth transition into the world of online appointments.
Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals Can Be Challenging
Technology can fail us, and this is no different with Telehealth. While you can’t control your patient’s connection, it’s vital that you ensure you have a fast internet connection or sufficient data, so that poor connectivity doesn’t get in the way of your appointment schedule. And make sure that your laptop or phone is plugged in!
To avoid additional challenges, find software that comes with a HIPAA compliance certification. This way, you can protect your clients’ information and create a safe environment. Applications like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom (standard and pro) are not suitable for client appointments.
With Power Diary you have full peace of mind as the Telehealth functionality uses WebRTC technology that is built into modern web browsers. It’s a peer-to-peer connection that is encrypted end-to-end and complies with ‘ No vendor access’ privacy requirements so that the calls cannot be monitored by a third party.
Get your practice ahead of the game by finding the best practice management software to suit your needs. You’ll stand out from the crowd by creating safe, modern, and convenient systems for your patients to enjoy.
Whatever you decide, be sure that your software is HIPAA compliant and make sure that both you and your client are comfortable with the technical requirements ahead of time.
Despite the pandemic posing challenges to the mental health world, there are solutions such as Telehealth for mental health practitioners to overcome them. Now’s the time to forge ahead and take your practice to the next level with telehealth.