All Telehealth Professionals Must Know These Pointers
Providing mental health through telehealth services comprises a large sector of healthcare today. How can you make sure your mental health patient gets the support they need virtually?
Telehealth services were slow to be implemented, but surged in use as providers sought ways to continue care in the heat of the pandemic. The benefits are proving too good to reverse:
- Ease of access
- Regular treatment
- Faster outcomes
According to Mental Health America, 45 million Americans are experiencing mental health illness. Mental health professionals must ensure that they provide the effective care that so many people desperately need.
While telehealth has proved highly convenient and beneficial, there are things you should be doing to enhance outcomes and receive five-star ratings from patients. Here we show you how.
Understand Your Tech
Technology lightened the catastrophic consequences of a global pandemic, by keeping the world connected and functioning. But it’s not everyone’s friend.
Many of your patients will struggle with using technology, despite its convenience. This inability can cause frustration, anxiety, and misunderstanding. To successfully provide high-quality mental health support, you must:
- patiently and confidently guide your patients in how to use technology
- be able to troubleshoot any technical glitches and resolve them
- know how to use your platforms to achieve maximum performance
Ensure technology is on your side before you even begin in telehealth services – it’s the first part of connection between you and your patients.
Organization is a critical skill when providing telehealth services remotely. Make sure you have all patients’ records to hand, and read through them prior to the consult. Ensure you allocate enough time at the beginning and end of your day to focus solely on tying ends and preparing.
Organizational skills will accommodate a tight yet effective schedule that ensures:
- Your patients aren’t kept waiting
- You have enough time to prepare for the next patient
- Records are correctly and safely filed
- You are earning at your maximum capacity
- You are having your breaks to recuperate and take care of yourself
Mental health patients need to feel at ease and reassured during their consult. It’s what you do in between that allows this, and provides high-standard telehealth services and outcomes.
Master Your Webside Manner
Mental health patients are using telehealth services to reach out for the help they need. But when they connect online, can they connect with you? Without that in-person reassurance, you’ll need to compensate and provide a supportive and encouraging hub through the screen by:
- Maintaining eye contact, rather than looking at your desk
- Speaking clearly
- Nodding in understanding
- Giving clear instructions, advice, and information on what will happen next
- Sitting close to the screen, so they can see you clearly
Again, organizational skills play a huge role in allowing you to provide the website manner patients deserve throughout their consultation.
Have Support – Know What to Do
You won’t have the immediate support on hand in telehealth services as you would in a clinical setting. With mental health patients, sadly suicidal prompts are on the rise. You must know exactly what to do and who to contact in an emergency incident.
It’s also critical you have a streamlined process in place for patient treatment plans – make sure these are made clear by the healthcare provider.
Create a Professional Office Space
If you’re working from home, your office space must present professionally and clean. There must be no patient records in view of your patients, or personal belongings that detriment your professionalism or private life.
This space should also be organized and well lit. Sitting by a window with the light from the front will allow patients to see you better. Make sure disturbances are eliminated so that patients have your full attention.
High-Spec Your Telehealth Services – Starting with You
Technology is the link between you and your patient. Those suffering with mental health issues need your support. You’ll need to ensure that you are organized, can coach your patient in using the technology they must, and that you can access the support your patient may need.