The Power of Connection in Crisis: Telehealth’s Impact on Mental and Behavioral Health

The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the efforts by governments to contain it have brought unprecedented changes to every sphere of society. In the mental health space, the global pandemic is a significant force that has had far reaching reverberations. We have seen an increased need for mental health services during this pandemic as people struggle to adapt.

We are all grieving the loss of what we knew as normal. There are fears and anxieties about the future, the stresses of social distancing and economic uncertainty. For those who are already struggling with their mental health, there is even more vulnerability. A person who is suffering from addiction may relapse; a person who is depressed may respond to a “shelter in place” order by never leaving their room. 

At the same time, healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 are suffering from heightened levels of anxiety and depression. We have also learned from past experience that rates of depression increase significantly in people who have infections and there are adverse mental effects on the general population from outbreaks throughout modern history

Interestingly, by implementing the practice of social distancing, we are doing our part to protect the physical health of others but could be neglecting our mental health in the process. Our community is in need of a solution to provide continuity of care between patients and providers. This is where Telehealth is so incredibly valuable.

 

Staying connected will help us through this unprecedented global health crisis

Connection is an integral part of what makes us human and can help protect our mental health. As social distancing measures continue to keep therapists and their clients physically separated, therapists are evolving their approach by taking their practices online with Telehealth. Virtual appointments are a powerful way for therapists and their clients to maintain connection—and it’s a means of communication that is proven to be as effective as in-person therapy.

Now more than ever, mental health has become a public health priority and Telehealth has been identified as a solution to address the significant need for mental healthcare during this crisis. In fact, the U.S House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, a bipartisan bill to aid in COVID-19 preparedness and response. The bill includes, among other things, provisions that waive certain Telehealth requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency to ensure Medicare beneficiaries can receive Telehealth services at home to avoid placing themselves at greater risk of the virus.

 

Providing support for those who need it most

With the global community focused on a shared effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, our lives have been quarantined to protect public health. As a society, we have now been forced to reevaluate how we communicate with important people in our lives—our families, friends, employers and ourselves. Unlike physical health, mental health is usually unseen and oftentimes kept to oneself.

In this new age of digital living, Therapy Brands’ Telehealth solutions remove barriers, bringing patients and providers together to ensure continuity of care. Many of our practice management software (PMS) solutions feature integrated Telehealth capabilities to fit any size business. My Clients Plus serves small-sized therapy practices; those at larger locations can leverage Telehealth software offered through TheraNest;  enterprise-level providers with one or multiple facilities will find value in ShareNote’s Telehealth service and thera-LINK is a great option for a standalone HIPAA-compliant Telehealth solution.

We know it requires a broad portfolio of solutions and services to care for the unique needs of healthcare providers, counselors and their patients. That’s why in addition to integrated and standalone Telehealth, we offer a comprehensive set of solutions to service single-provider practices all the way to multi-facility, enterprise-level providers to support remote therapy environments. Our online portal feature helps clients to receive care and gain access to important information such as scheduling, documentation and payments from any device, all without having to leave the comfort of their home. Time is money; our payment processing feature streamlines the checkout process for both provider and patient and is used for both in person and Telehealth-rendered services. When it comes to commercial insurance, Medicare or Medicaid billing, we have a team of specialists who can lift the burden of claims processing from office staff and keep practices from missing out on lost revenue and wasted time.  This has been particularly important because the regulations regarding what is paid for Telehealth is complex and evolving.

 

Unique Needs of Therapeutic Markets

We recognize that no practice is the same—business models, markets served, practice goals, staff experience, clients’ needs, and regulations vary. The Covid-19 impact also varies as practices increasingly adopt Telehealth across a variety of therapeutic markets. TheraNest and My Clients Plus are built for psychologists, counselors, mental health therapists and social workers. Fusion Web Clinic is designed specifically for pediatric speech language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists. For Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) practices serving the needs of clients on the Autism Spectrum and others who benefit from early intervention, we have several solutions. CodeMetro provides top-notch customization for larger businesses and AccuPoint features the only solution on the market that doesn’t require any extra start-up time, enabling users to begin a free trial and use all embedded features including Telehealth quickly. WebABA was built for billing and can be especially helpful for any provider operating their own business. 

Data drives better outcomes and lowers the cost of care. Our compliant, cloud-based data collection solutions provide insights into patient skill acquisition and behavior reduction data as well as employee performance. DataFinch’s Catalyst and Pinnacle data collection solutions enable a behavioral analyst to collect data across a variety of environments – school, home and clinics are integrated with Therapy Brands’ practice management solutions with single sign-on features driving efficiency for providers. For enterprise-level providers, maintaining a pulse on metrics is critical across their larger operations. That’s why we’ve aligned our enterprise-level offerings with Microsoft PowerBI–increasing visibility of your patients, staff and business operations information. 

 

Continuity of care—now and in the future

Now more than ever, patients in the mental, behavioral and applied behavioral analysis markets need access to their providers.  Enabling continuity of care through Telehealth solutions for clients and their providers during COVID-19 is making a difference in patients’ lives.  At Therapy Brands, we are committed to helping our customers through this challenging time as they adopt and embrace compliant, easy to use, Telehealth solutions and other tools and services that ease their burden and enable them to serve their clients. Click here to see how our software solutions can serve you.