Online Psychiatry: Best Apps & Software For Telepsychiatry

Online Psychiatry

Telepsychiatry holds significant promise as a feasible, cost-effective way to make mental health more accessible for patients, especially those in remote locations, or who are unable to attend face-to-face treatment. But how does it work in practice, and is online psychiatry a service that you, as a practitioner, can professionally deliver?

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of online psychiatry and its role in mental healthcare today. We’ll review some of the top online psychiatry apps, and give you a closer look at how you can indeed start creating your own telepsychiatry solutions for those you help.

Before you read on, we recommend trying Quenza’s online psychiatry tools for 30 days, at just. Our specialized blended care platform is an all-in-one software solution that helps you treat your clients with unique, effective online solutions, so that you can take your practice digital today.

What is Telepsychiatry?

Telepsychiatry, or online psychiatry, is a branch of telemedicine concerned with the “delivery of psychiatric care remotely through telecommunications technology”.[1]

It often involves telephone- or video-based interactions between a professional psychiatrist and their patient, and can include:[2]

  • Direct teleconsultations for diagnosis or assessment
  • Training and capacity-building interventions within a larger mental health treatment plan
  • One-on-one appointments or group sessions,
  • Synchronous (live) or asynchronous (time-delayed) interactions.

Studies on the efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction potential of online psychiatry have broadly recognized its clinical effectiveness.

Online psychiatry can be used both for routine care or in certain situations, for providing emergency care. Some examples of telepsychiatry in practice include scheduled follow-ups for prescription refills, teleconferences with a doctor regarding medication changes, or simply continuing with a structured therapy treatment for an existing patient.[3]

While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the practice are relatively scarce in comparison to some other branches of mHealth, telepsychiatry studies have looked at its efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and relationship with patient satisfaction. When considering these together, meta-analyses have generally recognized its clinical effectiveness.[4][5][6]

Is Online Psychiatry Beneficial?

So what have telepsychiatry studies revealed, in a nutshell?

In the table below, we can see a few benefits of online psychiatry, both for patients and the practitioners treating them.[7]

Online Psychiatry Benefits

How It Looks

High Patient Satisfaction

21 out of 31 reviewed studies found that patients rated their telepsychiatry experiences either “good” or “excellent

Reliable Assessments

Generally, psychiatric and psychological assessments conducted using telepsychiatry are comparable to in-person assessments when it comes to their reliability.

No studies showed any strong evidence that telepsychiatry assessments were significantly less reliable than those conducted face-to-face.

Effective Treatments

RCTs comparing the efficacy of online psychiatry with usual care have shown it to be better than usual care, in many cases.

Compared with face-to-face treatment, online psychiatry interventions produced statistically equivalent outcomes to those produced by in-person interventions

Good Attendance Rates

For e-clinics, telepsychiatry patients were more likely to keep their online appointments, with better attendance rates and fewer no-shows

More Cost-Effective

Studies have shown that telepsychiatry reduces direct costs, such as provider time and medication expenses, and indirect costs like patient travel time.

With viability and cost-effectiveness looking good thus far for online psychiatry, it comes as no small surprise that national and international healthcare bodies are looking at more ways to integrate telepsychiatry into their private and stepped care initiatives.

3 Things To Look For In Psychiatric Apps

Looking for a psychiatric app for your practice is not unlike searching for a great coach app or all-around psychology tool.

But of course, there are a few more important things to consider, such as how your patient’s data will be protected or how efficiently you can use your solution.

A few things that great psychiatry apps have in common include:

  1. HIPAA Compliance: Telepsychiatrists work with protected health information (PHI) every day, so ensuring this confidential data remains private and secure is a legal requirement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA-compliant telemedical software is one of the top ways for providers to protect their clients’ PHI, such as therapy notes and medical data, from unauthorized access. Look for psychiatric apps that are designed for medical and mental health practice, and which guarantee the proper transmission and storage of your patients’ data.
  2. Therapy Note Templates: Recording notes from sessions can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of psychiatric practice, but lots of the burden can be reduced in online psychiatry with the use of psychotherapy note templates. These may be pre-built in psychiatric apps, but the ability to create and store opinions, observations, and other data efficiently in custom note templates gives telepsychiatrists a lot more control over how they document their sessions. Software such as Quenza, for example, allows practitioners to create their own practice-branded SOAP note templates, BIRP notes, and more.
  3. Patient Engagement Tools: While the telepsychiatry research generally suggests that it yields good patient satisfaction, putting effort into patient engagement building can further enhance the positive impact of your treatments.[4] With good psychiatric apps and platforms, you’ll generally find useful features such as automated notifications, reminders, and Feedback Survey templates to help you implement a patient engagement strategy for your practice.

What Is The Best Telepsychiatry App and Software?

There are more than a few telepsychiatry apps that are already being widely used by mental health professionals.

Here are a few, including Quenza, ICANotes, MyClientsPlus, and Cliniko.

Solution

Details

Quenza Online PsychiatryQuenza is an efficient, powerful way to design online psychiatry interventions and carry out e-therapy through the app. With a custom Activity Builder for creating psychological assessments, exercises, medical note templates, and more, the HIPAA-compliant online psychiatry software uses simple drag-and-drop tools to give practitioners complete control and flexibility.

This software’s free client apps also allow patients to access their treatments, messages, and notifications from a smartphone or browser, with a private and secure Client Portal for uploading clinical documentation prior to, during, or after treatment. For all assessments and exercises, patient results and progress can be tracked on the practitioner’s side in real-time. Quenza is fully white-label, meaning treatments and interventions can be branded with your clinic or private practice logos.

NameQuenza
Price$1+ monthly
Good ForTelepsychiatrists, Online Psychotherapists, E-counselors, Mental Health Coaches
Websitehttps://quenza.com/

Solution

Details

ICANotes Online PsychiatryICANotes is a treatment planning software with medical billing, e-prescribing, and documentation functions for online psychiatrists. It has very robust Patient Charting and Progress Notes tools and extensive EHR/EMR capabilities for sharing patient details within organizations.

To speed up note-taking, ICANotes comes with drop-down menus for DSM codes, common diagnostic criteria, and even session summaries. It can be used to lock and digitally sign patient charts, files, notes, and other templates, and comes with team and single-user plans.

NameICANotes
Price$6+ monthly
Good ForTelepsychiatrists, Online Psychotherapists, E-counselors, Mental Health Coaches
Websitehttps://www.icanotes.com/

Solution

Details

My Clients Plus Online PsychiatryTherapy software MyClientsPlus features more than 200 customizable therapy note templates for mental health professionals, as well as ICD-10 codes, DSM codes, and other time-saving documentation features. A brandable solution, it gives clients a Patient Portal for completing practice, managing appointments, and logging in to telehealth sessions.

MCP has native support for telehealth sessions and can be used for medical billing. The software allows for e-signatures, insurance claims management, and other practice management functions. It does not, however, support the creation of detailed treatment plans.

NameMyClientsPlus
Price$24.95+ monthly
Good ForTelepsychiatrists, Online Psychotherapists, E-counselors, Mental Health Coaches
Websitehttps://www.myclientsplus.com/

Solution

Details

Cliniko Online PsychiatryCliniko comes with appointment-scheduling, telehealth, patient record management, and billing functions for solo providers snd teams. This online psychiatry solution can be used to hold live virtual sessions, create patient cases, and keep track of your clinic’s progress with performance reports, which detail metrics like referral sources, income by provider, and more.

Unlike Quenza and ICANotes, this software doesn’t support detailed treatment planning, but it does allow practitioners to view and store Client Cases with an overview of their billing history, past payments, appointments, progress notes, and correspondence.

NameCliniko
Price$45+ monthly
Good ForTelepsychiatrists, Online Psychotherapists, E-counselors, Mental Health Coaches
Websitehttps://cliniko.com/

How To Use Quenza Software For Telepsychiatry

For a closer look at how technology can be used to create and deliver e-health solutions, we used the online psychiatry app Quenza to walk through the treatment design and delivery process.

Assessment and Intervention Design

Assessments are central to the intake process, as well as for keeping track of progress throughout a psychiatric treatment.

As a professional mental health software, Quenza offers a large library of free, fully customizable scales and measures that can be used straight away as part of telepsychiatry services. Here, however, we wanted to create our own.

With Quenza’s Activity Builder, we created our own versions of validated and freely available mental health assessments such as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). These were quick and easy to design using drag-and-drop tools for different questions, allowing us to choose between free-text fields, multiple-choice questions, Likert scales, and drop-down menus for our patients to engage with.

Quenza Online Psychiatry Assessment
Data collected from online psychiatric tests and measures can be stored securely within telepsychiatry software for analysis. (Pictured: Quenza)

We could then send these securely to clients as separate assessments or save them as templates for use in other plans, with a few modifications. On our patient’s end, our mental health assessments were received as easy-to-complete digital activities in their Client Portal.

Once our patient completed their PHQ, we were able to view their results through Quenza’s dashboard, where they could be stored in a HIPAA-compliant way for reference if we wanted to modify their treatment or therapy.

Treatment Planning

To develop more comprehensive treatment plans, we used Quenza’s Pathways feature to sequence our bespoke assessments, interventions, and psychoeducational content.

Here, we created an online psychiatry treatment plan that combines exercises, validated scales, and patient engagement activities for managing anxiety.

Quenza Online Psychiatry Treatment Planning Example
Quenza’s Activity Builder can be used to design assessments, which can then be assembled into Care Pathways or treatment plans for automated delivery.

As the screengrab shows, we were able to sequence our custom activities and validated scales into logical steps by selecting them from a drop-down menu. While we could manually send these as our patient’s treatment unfolded, we decided to automatically send them according to a schedule that we had agreed upon in therapy.

Here, we began with an anxiety assessment, then chose to deliver our unique interventions that included activities, exercises, and instructional content.

Building Patient Engagement in Therapy

To align our treatments and interventions with our patient’s unique needs and capabilities, we integrated multimedia into each relevant exercise. For our client, who preferred video therapy, we prepared personal video messages that they could engage with from their smartphone.

Patient Engagement Quenza Online Psychiatry Example
Building engagement between therapy sessions with personalized messages using Quenza’s video therapy tools.

In this screenshot, we’re sending an instructional video on deep breathing to help our patient cope with panic attacks in the moment. This content is automatically saved on the HIPAA-compliant platform for them to access at any time on the go.

From our dashboard, we could keep track of whether they had engaged with our content, or whether it was still in progress.

Final Thoughts

Telepsychiatry has ample potential to help practitioners close treatment gaps and address unnecessary mental health disparities, through effective, satisfactory treatments that are simple to design and implement.

With a good understanding of how online psychiatry works in practice, there’s no reason why today’s accredited providers with the right online psychiatry tools can’t easily deliver their own interventions and treatments online. If you offer telepsychiatry as part of your practice, we’d love to hear about your experiences in a comment.

We hope you enjoyed this article. To design and deliver your own professional online psychiatry solutions, don’t forget to start your $1, 30-day Quenza trial. Our easy-to-use online tools include everything you need to create, share, and monitor your telepsychiatry treatments online, so that you can help your clients improve their mental health and achieve their wellbeing goals.

References

  1. ^ O’Brien, M., & McNicholas, F. (2020). The use of telepsychiatry during COVID-19 and beyond. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 37(4), 250.
  2. ^ Kommu, J. V. S., Sharma, E., & Ramtekkar, U. (2020). Telepsychiatry for Mental Health Service Delivery to Children and Adolescents. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 42(5S), 46S.
  3. ^ Tendler, A. (2020). Telepsychiatry: To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/telepsychiatry-to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-question
  4. ^ Guaiana, G., Mastrangelo, J., Hendrikx, S., & Barbui, C. (2020). A Systematic Review of the Use of Telepsychiatry in Depression. Community Mental Health Journal, 1.
  5. ^ Frueh, B. C., Monnier, J., Yim, E., Grubaugh, A. L., Hamner, M. B., & Knapp, R. G. (2007). A randomized trial of telepsychiatry for post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 13(3), 142.
  6. ^ Serhal, E., Crawford, A., Cheng, J., & Kurdyak, P. (2017). Implementation and utilisation of telepsychiatry in Ontario: a population-based study. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(10), 716.
  7. ^ Hubley, S., Lynch, S. B., Schneck, C., Thomas, M., & Shore, J. (2016). Review of key telepsychiatry outcomes. World Journal of Psychiatry, 6(2), 269.

About the author

Catherine specializes in Organizational and Positive Psychology, helping entrepreneurs, clinical psychologists and OD specialists grow their businesses by simplifying their digital journeys.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.