Providers turn to telepsychiatry to help teens

Telemedicine

For children and young adults especially, finding a psychiatrist close to home can be almost impossible. That's why many providers, including Seattle Children’s Hospital, are turning to telepsychiatry, Time reports.

Kathleen Myers, program director for telepsychiatry and behavioral health at the hospital, tells Time that such services are "part of an evolving landscape that has to change to get kids the services they need."

Advances in technology, and the comfort with which young patients are using such innovation could lead to a time when most mental health appointments for young patients are virtual, adds Gregory Fritz, a Rhode Island-based child and adolescent psychiatrist and president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

However, he adds that telepsychiatry is not a cure-all. Myers agrees, saying that more must be done to address the shortage of such providers to ensure all children and young adults receive necessary mental care.

She also notes that such services are not always seamless. Children can be too soft-spoken to be heard over video, Myers says, or may feel restless during appointments. Iffy broadband connections and technical barriers also post a problem.

That’s not to mention regulatory issues that can arise when it comes to such modes of care. Those can include questions about privacy and security, addressing follow-up care and barriers to reimbursement, according to a survey of telemental health laws by law firm Epstein Becker Green.

Even so, providers along with telehealth companies and even pharmacy giant Walgreens are embracing the technology in an effort to improve the amount of mental health services offered nationwide.

To learn more:
- here's the Time article

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