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04 Jan 2023 7 min

How to make your teleconsulting practice successful?

How to make your teleconsulting practice successful?

Mental Health Apps

Increasing use of mental health apps due to their benefits in enhancing treatment results and way of life as well as increasing understanding of mental health as a substantial health condition are some of the key attributes estimated to drive the market. As per some reports, the revenue from the international mental health apps market is forecasted to be around USD 9.9 Billion in 2028. Fast urbanization, technological development, and greater investment globally are some of the factors contributing to the growth.

For therapists

Some therapists may find that teletherapy suits their personal style and allows them to meet their practice goals. Some benefits include:

Reduced overheads

Therapists can eliminate office overheads by shifting to a telehealth model. Those offering part-time teletherapy can rent office space for a few days weekly and thereby reduce costs.

The ability to reach more clients

Mental health professionals can reach out to more personnel with disabilities, financial problems, and transportation difficulties. You can therefore expand your potential customer base and generate more revenue.

How to reach clients remotely

Video counselling

As a psychiatrist, you offer video counselling during a scheduled appointment, but the connection is remote.

Access to mental health care services for clients living in remote and rural areas

The increasing use and affordability of smartphones and tablets provide opportunities to reach and treat persons living with mental disorders. Video conferencing technology can be used across various clients to convene persons with the same problems spread over different geographies. Increased engagement in video therapy could be due to a reduction in the social stigma – especially for generations comfortable communicating through technology.

Written message therapy

The therapist communicates with the clients via text messages, emails, or a live chat platform. A therapist will normally respond during working hours and this is a good option for persons who are not comfortable discussing their problems during a live online session.

A mental health counsellor can consider text-assisted therapy for the following reasons:

  • Busy schedule
  • Cost-effective mental health services
  • A large percentage of patients are in a remote area
  • To offer personalised therapy sessions
  • The patient experiences anxiety about live video or phone sessions
  • The patient has a sensory processing disorder that impacts the mode of communication

Phone counselling

During this counseling method, a therapist alleviates the emotional pain and provides solutions to the situations the patient is undergoing on the phone.

The reasons for this therapy:

  • Busy work schedules
  • Treat patients with physical disabilities
  • Negate social anxiety among patients
  • Overcomes the geographical barrier
  • Cost-effective
  • Smartphone-enhanced therapy platforms assist to address symptoms of various mental health issues
  • Option of not only utilizing voice calls

Best Practices for Remote Counselling

  • Ensure a private and confidential place to conduct sessions
  • Support the clients to set the expectation and focus on the sessions for success
  • Verify the home internet speed
  • Using a video platform on the laptop is preferable (for a smartphone or tablet consider using a tripod to keep it steady)
  • Ensure to maintain a schedule
  • Demonstrate stability, comfort, and confidence

How to collect payment

  • The premium plan of some telemedicine software allows a therapist to collect payments directly from patients during sessions or in the virtual waiting room
  • Payment through a form: you can embed a payment gateway directly into a form and collect payments from the patients
  • Retail Payments – businesses can accept debit and credit card payments through a normal credit machine in an office environment
  • Paying over the Phone: It is one of the oldest remote payment methods but any miscommunication can result in issues while paying for services

Paper Invoicing

Paper invoicing is a prominent method of collecting payments remotely. If a payment is due, the counsellor sends an invoice and the patient makes the payment through a cheque.

Online Payments

Online payments can be completed using a credit card by the patient. Such payments are secure, fast, and efficient.

Telemedicine Merchant Accounts

Some therapists access telemedicine merchant accounts via a telehealth software platform while some apply for telehealth merchant accounts directly.

Features of Telemedicine Merchant Accounts

  • Rates are low
  • Multiple payment methods
  • Recurring billing option
  • Multi-channel payments
  • Electronic invoicing
  • Payment gateway

Do’s and don’ts while actually conducting the session

Do’s

  • Use basic web meetings and online video tools 
  • Use medical devices for remote monitoring
  • Ensure behavioral health, mental health, and related care are more accessible
  • Maintain the same standard of care during teleconsultation as during in-person consultation
  • Patient identification is mandatory at the first consultation
  • Caregiver identity and authorization should be validated
  • Counsellor must identify himself/herself before commencing teleconsultation
  • Maintain patient records
  • Patient’s personal data should not be disclosed 
  • Develop guidance to deliver virtual care to patients
  • Ensure regulatory compliance
  • Select technology that is most effective and accessible for the patient
  • Prepare for the session by sending instructions in advance
  • Use a secure room for telehealth visits

Don’t

  • Assume that medical device connectivity will be quick
  • Leave patients on their own
  • Deny emergency teleconsultation
  • Forget to focus on the patient experience

Follow-up treatment

  • Engage with patients further to conduct more evaluations
  • Inform family members about the follow-up instructions related to medications
  • Offer additional care to patients requiring observation and identify potential problems
  • Offer emotional support, particularly to patients in isolation
  • Follow up with patient having lower-acuity COVID-19, enabling them to stay at home
  • Motivate patients to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Encourage patients to use remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices to record patient vitals automatically

Maintaining client privacy

  • Provide your name and credentials before commencing the first session
  • Validate the patient’s identity while beginning every appointment
  • Ensure you and the patient can communicate without any disturbance
  • Use headphones to avoid others hearing confidential information
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi and use password-protected devices
  • Use a telehealth platform providing a strong authentication method
  • Ensure the system has the most up-to-date operating system, applications, and firmware
  • Avoid phishing emails

Telemedicine improves the accessibility of mental health services since it enables patients to evade stigma and receive treatment from the seclusion of their homes. Various mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and substance-related disorder can be treated with telemedicine globally, especially in the primary healthcare environment. Telemedicine offers a good option for patients with specific needs, including the young, minority populations, and the elderly. Please go through our website www.genamet for more information on making your teleconsulting practice successful.

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