Telemedicine is a logical yet revolutionary step in medicine. It’s the integration of advances in information technologies and telecommunications with clinical medicine. Over the internet, doctors are now able to provide routine medical care. They obviously can’t perform surgeries virtually, but they are able to offer wellness checks, psychiatric consultations, and more.
Telemedicine is having an especially profound impact on the field of psychiatry for two reasons. First, psychiatric consultations can often be done remotely, so technological advances are having a greater impact on psychiatry than other specialties that require more hands-on work, like orthopedics. Second, there is a great need for psychiatrists, especially in rural communities. Telemedicine lets anyone who has an internet connection speak with a psychiatrist -- even if there isn’t one located near them.
An online psychiatric consultation is a lot like an in-person one. A typical consultation may include taking a full medical history, describing any symptoms being experienced, and receiving a diagnosis. Psychiatrists can also call in prescriptions after the consultation if medication is needed.
The only difference between an online psychiatric consultation and an in-person one is convenience. Online consultations don’t require driving to a doctor’s office, waiting in the waiting room, and driving home afterward. Patients are free to talk with the doctor from the comfort of their home or the convenience of their office, as long as they have an internet connection and a private place that they can be in.
When selecting a doctor for a virtual consultation, patients should look for someone who is licensed and board-certified, just like they should when selecting a doctor for any other service. They should also, however, seek out a doctor who has treated many patients via telemedicine, because an experienced doctor will be more comfortable with the virtual interface than one who is just starting to use this technology.