Defining Face-to-Face Care
Psychiatric care provided in the physical presence of another person or care that is provided through online video sessions are both considered types of face-to-face care. Face-to-face care is defined as care that is provided within each person’s sight or presence. Care offered through texting or voice-only phone calls are not considered face-to-face telepsychiatry.
While some individuals argue that technology creates a barrier for psychiatric care and that the physical presence of an individual comprises face-to face care, clinical research indicates that telepsychiatry is as effective as in-person care.
Technology offers an opportunity for individuals living in rural areas or areas with a provider shortage to meet with qualified psychiatrists when care would have otherwise been difficult, or even impossible, to access.
Online psychiatry is the delivery of mental and behavioral health care services over the internet through secure video calls. Televideo allows a consumer and provider to both see and hear each other throughout a session. This type of care is sometimes called telemental health care, telepsychiatry, distance therapy, e-therapy, telebehavioral health or simply telehealth.
A 2013 literature review regarding the effectiveness of telemental health shows that telepsychiatry is effective and increases access to care. In an article published in Psychiatric Services, telepsychiatry is described as producing equivalent clinical outcomes as in-person psychiatric consultations.
A 2015 study focusing on the use of televideo to deliver prolonged exposure therapy to individuals with PTSD found similar decreases in PTSD symptoms in both those who received treatment via televideo and those who received treatment in person.
A study from 2016 sought to compare clinical characteristics and outcomes of telepsychiatry versus in-person emergency child and adolescent assessments. The researchers found no statistically significant differences in variables between the two groups. In addition, individuals in this study reported a high degree of satisfaction with telepsychiatry.
Whether or not technology is involved in psychiatric care, the concept of face-to-face care is essential for addressing mental and behavioral health concerns and maintaining a healthy and balanced life.
For more research regarding telehealth, visit InSight’s Academic Library.