Tele-psychiatry/online psychiatry also sometimes called e-psychiatry is use of technology to assess the patient without him/her attending the clinic in person.
It has its pros and cons.
Reasons to see an online psychiatrist
There are a number of reasons a person may consider seeing an online psychiatrist instead of visiting one in person.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, telepsychiatry can provide the following benefits:
Reducing potential delays in care providing more convenient appointment times, which can reduce the need for time off work allowing for better care continuity and consistent follow-up appointments
Improving access to psychiatric care for people without transportation and those in rural areas.
The sections below will outline some potential benefits of having an online consultation and online follow-up appointments with a telepsychiatrist.
According to one 2016 review, online psychiatric sessions tend to be more cost effective than in-person psychiatric sessions.
Some people who seek psychiatric services are unable to travel or live in rural areas with poor access to psychiatrists. Telepsychiatry allows these people to receive psychiatric services that may otherwise be unavailable to them.
A 2015 review suggests that telepsychiatry appears generally effective across a wide range of age groups, including children, adolescents, and older adults.