At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, many industries had to adapt quickly in order to operate safely and responsibly. Like many other organizations, mental healthcare facilities were certainly impacted by the pandemic, too.
To adapt to the pandemic's challenges, many mental healthcare providers and facilities made a significant investment in telehealth technology. Telehealth technology allows patients to limit travel during the pandemic and access mental healthcare from anywhere using an internet-connected device. Learn more about telehealth and available treatment options in our post below.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers to healthcare that providers render remotely over an internet connection. With telehealth options, patients can receive care from anywhere using their smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers.
To render telehealth services, providers contract with telehealth platforms that allow private and secure video-conferencing functionality. Patients and providers then carry out their appointments online rather than face-to-face in an office. Some of the latest telehealth platforms offer a range of advanced features, including virtual waiting rooms, electronic document signing, AI-assisted image processing, and prescription medication ordering features. In many cases, telehealth platforms can virtually replicate almost all parts of an in-office visit.
The benefits of telehealth during COVID-19
Before the pandemic, many people were unfamiliar with telehealth services. While some people may have heard of telehealth options before, few people ever received care via a telehealth platform. Of course, with the importance of social distancing during the pandemic, telehealth's main benefit during COVID-19 is that it allows people to receive care without having to travel or interact face-to-face with others. By using telehealth services instead of going for an in-person appointment, people can avoid crowded waiting rooms and unnecessary interactions with people who may be infectious.
In addition to allowing people to limit travel and reduce exposure to the virus, telehealth services are important because they allow individuals to access healthcare during quarantine or mandatory lockdown periods. In many instances, telehealth services are not only a precautionary measure but also are the only non-emergency healthcare option for people who are unable to leave their homes. Quarantine and lockdown periods can last for weeks at a time, and telehealth allows people to access healthcare more easily during those periods.
Telehealth and mental health treatment programs
Patients who suffer from mental health conditions may experience that their symptoms worsen due to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people's routines and livelihoods have turned upside down, and the pandemic has created an environment of uncertainty for many people. Additionally, periods of isolation and less social activity can be harmful to people who suffer from mental health conditions, particularly people who suffer from depression. Without mental health treatment during this difficult time, some patients may see their mental health conditions deteriorate and may even be at an increased risk of suicide.
Importantly, patients can access mental health services via telehealth. Many mental health care programs involve conversations with mental health professionals and other patients who face mental health challenges. While many people prefer face-to-face exchanges, video-based telehealth programs can recreate much of the in-person treatment experience. With telehealth-based mental health treatment programs, patients can continue one-on-one therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and intensive outpatient programs from home.
Additionally, it is important to note that some people prefer telehealth visits over in-person appointments. Sometimes, patients may feel anxious with face-to-face interactions, and these patients may consider video or audio-based discussions easier to handle. Also, since patients can attend telehealth appointments anywhere, this flexibility and convenience allow some patients to attend appointments more consistently.
Accessing telehealth-based mental health treatment programs in Arizona
Aurora Behavioral Health System is a psychiatric hospital with locations in Glendale and Tempe, AZ. Our team adheres to CDC COVID-19 guidelines to ensure our patients' and staff members' safety during the pandemic. We understand that our community's mental health needs may now be more significant than ever, and we aim to continue providing services safely.
To ensure that you and your loved ones have access to mental health treatment services during this time, we now offer intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) via telehealth services. We host these services via secure and HIPAA-compliant video-conferencing software, and our patients can access the care they need from anywhere.
Aurora Behavioral Health System offers telehealth-based treatment programs for a range of mental health issues, including addiction. Our telehealth-based intensive outpatient services are open to individuals who are 18 years of age and older, and most insurance companies cover our telehealth services. Importantly, our licensed clinical staff members facilitate all telehealth therapy sessions, and patients can expect the same quality of care that they would otherwise experience at in-person sessions.
We are in-network with most major insurance companies, and most insurance companies cover our telehealth services for mental health. During the early days of telehealth treatment programs, many insurance companies were unfamiliar with telehealth services, and hospitals struggled to get telemedicine visits for mental health preapproved. Due to the pandemic, insurance companies are now more knowledgeable and accepting of telehealth-based treatments.
Getting started with telehealth services from Aurora Behavioral Health System
It is easy to get started with telemedicine services at Aurora Behavioral Health System. For more information about our telehealth-based intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and our treatment options, call us today at (877) 870-7012. Alternatively, you can contact our team online to learn more. We are always happy to help people find a mental health treatment program that fits their needs.