The pandemic has created many learning opportunities across the behavioral health field, among those, adapting to a virtual form of care, or telehealth. Along with medical appointments, Greater Family Health has also taken on the challenge of providing virtual mental health services to our patients that prefer to receive their care in that form. Offering Virtual Visits has allowed our patients to stay connected with both their medical and behavioral health practitioners in a way they may not have been able to during the height of the pandemic. Ensuring uninterrupted care to our patients is integral to our mission and our practitioners have done just that by adjusting to this newer modality of care.
We’ve learned a lot from this use of telehealth services. Beyond being an effective short-term solution for continuing care during a pandemic, Virtual Visits has given practitioners another viable route to help more vulnerable patients in their recovery and achieving greater health and well-being. Of course, telehealth is one among a set of clinical tools that drive goal attainment for everyone we serve. While it will take many months – and even years – to assess the full impact of the pandemic on behavioral health services, one thing is clear: our reliance on technologies for provision of care is not disappearing. The use of telehealth will serve the field well as we confront the other pandemic – the tremendous rise in mental health challenges for much greater segments of the population, particularly young people.
While our shift to offering care virtually was quick, its continued use has been done very thoughtfully. From early on in the pandemic, we have been looking at how telehealth is impacting clients and services. According to a nationwide survey conducted by the U.S. Behavioral Health Coalition, we’ve learned that “80% of the almost 1,500 respondents reported satisfaction with virtual care and interest in continuing these services in the future, even when the pandemic lifts. The majority of those feeling favorable toward telehealth wanted telehealth to be in combination with in-person services.” Greater Family Health is excited to continue offering Virtual Visits and providing access to all patients interested in improving their mental well-being!