ONLINE COUNSELING AND TELEMEDICINE
The expansion in technology has had a dramatic impact on the medical field and how it provides services. One significant benefit is it allows for greater access to quality care. Meaning, people can access services or providers via video conferencing that they could not access otherwise due to physical limitations or geography.
As a therapist, I see numerous advertising of companies that are profiting off of telemedicine or telemental services, and offering discount counseling rates to potential clients. I am a supporter of affordable care. In fact, my rates are typically lower than competitor rates based on my desire to serve a more diverse range of people. I have an inherent distrust in companies that underpay its providers and adopt a focus on quantity of services versus quality. Using common sense, one might easily see the negative dynamic this can cause and the potential threat of harm to the recipient of such services. In these specific cases, the focus is money not individual quality of care.
I am a provider of on-line counseling. This was due to move and instead of closing down my practice, I had several clients ask me that I consider continuing to work via on-line. I must admit, I had a strong bias towards meeting in person and had some hesitancy in making this shift. However, after some needed research to understand the laws and logistics of delivering service this way, I have come to appreciate its unique offerings.
There are may competent therapists and other type of healers who also offer on line service in their practice and the focus is truly on providing more accessible care and in a manner that best supports the recipient (client). I greatly promote and encourage people to consider finding an individual practitioner they would like to work with versus a revolving door company more interested in warehouse bargain prices at the expense of others.
So again, What is Telemedicine?. Simply stated, it is usually an offering of services via a video platform and/or interactive technology program. Clients are able to meet through HIPAA secure platforms and have essentially, video chat sessions with providers anywhere. Some clients may go to a clinic and meet with the provider in an identified room within a clinic. Other times, clients can meet with their provider (such in my case) via a phone, tablet or laptop at a place of their choosing (e.g. their home, work). I have met with clients who were in their homes, at work, etc.
On-line counseling has a unique advantage in that it allows recipients greater access to providers who may be difficult to access due to geography, time, or other limitations. It is also helpful for those recipients who feel limited by scheduling, commuting, finances, physicality, or mental health to access care as needed. On line counseling allows for providers to offer continued care to established clients even if they move (provided they are legally allowed to). The quality of services delivered are seen as being equal to those delivered in person although the modality may have to be adjusted to accommodate video sessions. With the expansion of technology, recipients expectations and preferences are shifting. It is highly likely that this will continue to grow in popularity and become an even more prevalent of standard care within the medical system.
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