3 Key Solutions Driving the Telehealth Movement

May 10, 2022 | Healthcare Technology, Telehealth, Virtual Care

Telehealth expanded rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the resulting success and patient feedback have increased demand for digital services—especially in the mental health sector. New data suggests that consumers aren’t likely to go back to the long wait times and complicated processes associated with in-person care.

Historically, one of the key barriers to efficient mental health services is the chronically limited access. Fortunately, providers can use virtual and digital solutions to eliminate that barrier by bringing care straight to a patient’s home.

 

 

Digital Mental Care Programs
Especially when it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy treatment, digital interventions have certainly shown effectiveness. These programs provide direct access to care and eliminate barriers for people who have stigma- and privacy-related concerns about receiving treatment. Additionally, digital therapeutics encourage self-management—as long as users remain engaged. Recent studies suggest that virtual programs that don’t incorporate any type of human accountability or engagement do not produce results as effectively as the programs that require some form of therapist or coach contact. When implementing digital programs, organizations should invest in a model that enables patient independence while also allowing for crucial face-to-face engagement.

Mobile Apps & Chatbots
To reach people in areas where mental health services might not be immediately available, mobile apps or even text campaigns can be useful. According to the World Health Organization, harmful behaviors can sometimes be influenced by “infodemics,” or too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak. Using technology to deliver updates and provide recommendations can equip people to change negative thought and behavioral patterns and make more sound choices.

Virtual Counseling Sessions
At the onset of the pandemic, mental health services were forced online to limit in-person contact—but the results show a trend that isn’t likely to slow down. In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S., 84% of respondents said they would like to continue receiving virtual behavioral healthcare post-pandemic. Virtual visits are often easier to schedule than in-person visits because people don’t need to line up babysitters or request time off work. As a result, patients are more likely to seek the help they need.

While it remains to be seen how payers will accommodate telehealth services in the long term, it is clear that digital solutions offer sustainable opportunities to provide care in an area that has long been in high demand. Read more about emerging digital solutions in behavioral healthcare by downloading our white paper.