"Telepsychiatry is an interesting tool for various reasons in terms of providing early access to care, connecting patients in rural areas or who live far away from clinics to be able to get good evidence-based care," said study author Dr. Jennifer Severe, a psychiatrist who helped launch a test of telehealth initiatives at the University of Michigan's outpatient psychiatry clinic.
"Even patients who are closer, based on life burden and expectation, they might not be able to keep up with their appointments, so telehealth actually offers a way to remain connected with care, regardless of how busy people's lives might be," Severe said.
"Sometimes communication might be difficult. Sometimes you might need to do a physical exam. There might be a lack of important physical exam approaches and communication techniques that might be missing," Severe said. "So, that's one reason I will say telehealth might not be for everyone."
Severe hopes to see more of a blended approach after the pandemic, where a patient may do a face-to-face visit, followed by a couple of telehealth visits, and then return for another face-to-face visit.