Mountain High Health

What is Telepsychiatry?

Telepsychiatry is a new way for you to see the doctor without having to spend the time and gas money to drive to Idyllwild for your appointment. Telepsychiatry uses the latest in modern videoconferencing technology to allow you to meet with the doctor remotely over the Internet using a computer.

Telepsychiatry is a form of telemedicine, which is essentially the delivery of health care through some form of televideo equipment. Not to be mistaken as an entirely different field of medicine altogether, telemedicine is merely a new form of delivery of health care.

The first recorded use of telemedicine was in the 1950s when radiology images were sent over telephone lines. Today, telemedicine, including telepsychiatry, has successfully been integrated into medical practices all over the country and the world, allowing providers to serve patients in underserved communities and those who wouldn't be able to travel the necessary distance to otherwise receive the care they needed.

Your Telepsychiatry Appointment

In your telepsychiatry appointment, you and the doctor will meet face to face and in real time, just as in an in-person appointment, only you'll be sitting in two different locations: he at his office and you at home or an appropriate nearby facility. All that's needed for a telepsychiatry appointment is a computer with a broadband ("high speed") internet connection and a webcam. As you and the doctor speak, you will see each other conversing on the screen in the front of you, your voices being transmitted through your respective microphones and received through the other's speakers or headphones.

Should you wish to explore telepsychiatry but don't have a computer, internet connection or webcam, contact our office and we'll see if we can help you find an appropriate facility near you to which you can go to conduct your telepsychiatry appointments with the doctor.

Why is Telepsychiatry Better Than a Phone Call

A psychiatrist relies heavily on body language and visual cues a patient gives in addition to their words. Over the telephone, the doctor can only hear your voice and so is limited in how well he can read the subtler nonverbal cues you may exhibit about what's going on. Telepsychiatry puts the visual element back into the appointment, so the doctor can read your face and other visual signals as you speak, making him better able to assess your situation and help you more fully.

Telepsychiatry also allows you to view the doctor while you speak, which many people reports makes them much more comfortable conversing with a doctor about their personal issues remotely. Over a telephone you may have inhibitions to engaging fully with the doctor in your care that may be overcome simply by being able to see the doctor as you're speaking with him. Patients find they feel much more comfortable and safe speaking with a doctor when they can see him too than they do simply talking with him over the telephone.

Your Security

Our telepsychiatry system uses the tightest security protocols to ensure your privacy and confidentiality, the same as we do all our patients. All electronic interactions between patients and health care providers are subject to the same stringent federal and state privacy and confidentiality regulations, including HIPAA. Our telemedicine technologies and security protocols are all HIPAA compliant.

As he would for an in-person appointment, the doctor will furnish you with a complete privacy policy prior to your appointment and maintain a complete and confidential medical record of your sessions and your care.

The only element of security in telepsychiatry for which the doctor cannot be held responsible is the security on your end of the transmission. Whether you conduct your appointment from home or a third-party facility, it is the patient's responsibility to ensure the security of the computer and Internet connection and the privacy of your location during and throughout your appointment.  

Common Questions About Telepsychiatry

Can I use telepsychiatry to see the doctor if I am out of state?

Only California residents can see the doctor, whether in-person or via telepsychiatry. A California resident temporarily out-of-state may be able to have their appointment at their temporary location, but an out-of-state resident, even if they're currently within the California borders, cannot be a patient of this office.

How much does a telepsychiatry appointment cost?

The cost for a telepsychiatry appointment with the doctor is the same as for an in-person appointment in his Idyllwild office. Patient are held to the same policies regarding cancellations and missed appointments for telepsychiatry appointments as for in-person appointments.

Telepsychiatry Plus

Our telepsychiatry services work hand-in-hand with our use of other cutting-edge technologies for your benefit and convenience, including online scheduling of your own appointments and online prescription refill requests.
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