The Practical Benefits of Online Psychiatry

The mental health care system has grappled with persistent challenges, prompting the need for substantial changes. Despite the awareness of issues like long wait times for psychiatric evaluations, the existing framework has seen little improvement over the decades [12]. These concerns are particularly pronounced in socio-economically challenged urban and rural areas, revealing a broader access problem in the current mental health care infrastructure. [12]. Online psychiatry addresses these accessibility issues by leveraging technology to provide remote psychiatric services. This approach helps bridge the gap in underserved regions. It facilitates timely and convenient mental health treatment for individuals who might otherwise face significant barriers to accessing traditional in-person services.

How does online psychiatry work?

Online or telepsychiatry is a branch of telemedicine that provides mental health services to individuals through video calls [2]. Its primary goal is to connect people with virtual psychiatrists, whether they require therapy, medication management, or simply want to understand their condition better [2]. Telepsychiatry sessions are conducted directly between patients and telehealth psychiatrists through live video or audio calls [2].

Easy access to online mental health professionals has created a platform for individuals to receive high-quality and affordable care. Psychiatric nurse practitioners and online psychiatrists prescribe medication, conduct psychiatric evaluations, diagnose mental health conditions, and provide most services that in-person providers can.

Medical information, such as images or videos, can be securely transmitted to enable remote assessment. The rising popularity of mobile health technologies (mHealth), such as smartphone apps and smartwatches, supplements the efforts of telehealth psychiatrists and enhances the accessibility of mental health services [2].

What are the benefits of online psychiatry?

Many patients find telepsychiatry a comfortable option as it provides the convenience of avoiding travel, and the satisfaction levels are similar to traditional face-to-face (FTF) services [10]. In addition, there are many more benefits associated with online psychiatry platforms.

Improved Access to Care

Telepsychiatry has proven effective in bridging the treatment gap, making it more convenient for patients—especially those in isolated or rural areas—to easily access the mental health services they need [10]. Online psychiatric care eases access to in-network providers by offering greater accessibility, especially for individuals in rural areas, those with mobility issues, or those facing challenges in accessing traditional in-person care. Finding an online psychiatrist can be as easy as a quick online search and making a call.

Flexible Appointment Times

Patients can book appointments with a psychiatric provider at times that suit their schedules, minimizing the necessity of taking time off work and avoiding the hassle of travel.

Privacy and Increased Comfort

Some individuals may find telepsychiatry more comfortable and may be more willing to open up about their mental health history and ongoing struggles from the comfort of their homes. Children and adolescents show particularly high satisfaction, possibly due to their familiarity with technology. Virtual consultations are found to be less threatening for this age group [13].

Cost Savings and Efficiency

Some online psychiatry platforms accept insurance, which can lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs. Studies have documented cost savings and efficiency through telepsychiatry, with the VA reporting nearly 500,000 telepsychiatry encounters and significant cost savings in rural settings [10].

Telehealth Prescription Regulations

Online psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe controlled substances, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which loosened regulations, pending legislation might change how patients can receive prescriptions for scheduled substances.

The DEA and Department of Health and Human Services have been working to require in-person appointments for the prescription of scheduled drugs via telehealth, but continue to extend the date in which that would become effective (currently 12/31/2024) after receiving backlash regarding patient access and care standards.

Privacy and HIPAA Compliance

Practitioners and psychiatrists in telemedicine and online psychiatry must follow specific requirements to secure patient information. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, telehealth clinicians must protect identifiable patient data and comply with the Security Rule. This involves fully encrypted data transmission, additional authentication through passwords, secure point-to-point connection, private high-speed network, and various safeguards for electronically protected health information [11].

HIPAA compliance in online psychiatry involves specific requirements for safeguarding patient information; these include  [11]:

Use of HIPAA-Compliant Telehealth Platforms

Psychiatrists must choose telehealth technology vendors to ensure HIPAA compliance; this includes selecting specific versions of platforms, like Zoom, which require a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) signature for HIPAA compliance. This ensures that the technology used meets HIPAA standards, safeguarding patient information [11].

Security Measures

Online psychiatry must align with the HIPAA Security Rule, incorporating security measures for electronically protected health information (ePHI). This involves fully encrypted data transmission, a secure point-to-point connection, a private high-speed network, and administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for ePHI. These measures contribute to the overall security and privacy of patient information during online psychiatric sessions [11].

Business Associate Agreement (BAA)

Therapists in online psychiatry must sign a BAA with the chosen telehealth platform, signifying the platform’s commitment to safeguarding patient information according to HIPAA regulations. By formalizing this partnership through a BAA, therapists ensure that the telehealth platform is legally bound to uphold HIPAA’s necessary privacy and security standards [11].

Patient Data Protection

Online therapy platforms must implement robust encryption protocols, secure logins, regular data backups, and strong authentication processes. These measures are crucial for protecting protected health information (PHI) during online psychiatric sessions, contributing to overall HIPAA compliance. Patients can trust that their data is treated with utmost care, enhancing the confidentiality and integrity of their health information [11].

Diagnosis-specific benefits:

Telepsychiatry, also known as online psychiatry, offers valuable benefits for individuals grappling with various mental health conditions.


For those dealing with depression, studies show that telepsychiatry, conducted through video calls or webcams, leads to significant improvements in clinical state and satisfaction rates. This form of care is just as satisfying as traditional face-to-face sessions and, in some cases, even more so [7].

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Telepsychiatry does not compromise a therapist’s competence or the ability to deliver cognitive-behavioral therapy effectively [8]. This is crucial, as it provides a feasible option for PTSD treatment without the need for in-person visits. Particularly significant in military contexts where PTSD is prevalent, telepsychiatry overcomes geographical barriers associated with traditional care, enhancing accessibility [5].

Particularly significant in primary care settings, one study involving 22 primary care clinicians using telepsychiatry for patients with PTSD in rural or underserved areas demonstrated positive outcomes [9]. Telepsychiatry not only improved the management of PTSD but also provided an opportunity for clinicians to address both psychiatric and general medical aspects, making care more comprehensive [9].

Bipolar Disorder

Telepsychiatry also proves promising for individuals dealing with bipolar disorder. The approach has demonstrated clinical effectiveness and feasibility in time-limited treatment programs, showing increased implementation, sustainability, and acceptance among healthcare providers [6].

One notable advantage is the potential enhancement of diagnostic accuracy, providing a more precise diagnosis, especially in challenging cases like bipolar disorder [6]. The convenience of telepsychiatry, including the elimination of travel-related stress, makes it well-suited for individuals with bipolar disorder, including children [6].


Telepsychiatry, specifically videoconferencing psychological therapy, has consistently shown effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms across various age groups [3]. The commonly used intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has demonstrated significant improvements, and the therapy’s positive outcomes are comparable to traditional face-to-face therapy [3]. This approach offers practical applications in primary care settings, addressing geographical disparities and providing mental health care access to both rural and urban populations [3].

Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

One study investigated the effectiveness of telepsychiatry, specifically using videoconference psychotherapy (VCP) for cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in treating panic disorder and agoraphobia. Results showed that VCP was not significantly less effective than traditional face-to-face therapy, indicating comparable outcomes [4].

Additionally, VCP was confirmed to be significantly non-inferior to face-to-face therapy in treating panic disorder with agoraphobia. The positive effects of therapy were not only immediate but also sustained during follow-up assessments [4].

The study highlighted the ability to establish a strong working alliance with therapists through VCP, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the quality of the therapeutic relationship. [4]. Key factors influencing treatment outcomes included motivation, alteration of dysfunctional beliefs, and the sense of telepresence during remote sessions  [4]. The study’s findings suggest that telepsychiatry, particularly VCP for CBT, provides a practical and effective alternative for individuals dealing with panic disorder and agoraphobia, ensuring treatment quality without compromising outcomes [4].

Substance Dependence Issues

Telepsychiatry has demonstrated effectiveness in managing psychiatric medications and providing follow-up care for individuals with substance dependence issues [5]. Video visits enable healthcare providers to monitor medication regimens and offer the necessary assistance, presenting an accessible solution for individuals dealing with substance use challenges [5].

Diagnostic Reliability Across Various Disorders

In the realm of specific diagnostic reliability, telepsychiatry demonstrates high rates across various mental health concerns, including depression, substance misuse disorders, intellectual disabilities, schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dementia [13]. For ADHD in children, telepsychiatry has shown promise, resulting in improved response rates compared to in-person visits [8].

Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Combat Veterans

Additionally, telepsychiatry has proven effective in providing evidence-based psychotherapies for combat veterans with PTSD and major depression [1].

Home-based telehealth (HBT) for therapies such as Behavioral Activation and Therapeutic Exposure (BA-TE) has shown comparable outcomes to traditional in-person care, addressing logistical and stigma-related barriers for veterans seeking mental health care [1].

What are some examples of Online Psychiatry Services?

There is a full range of services offered through telepsychiatry; these may include the following [2]:

  • Psychiatric Evaluations: Telepsychiatry means you can have a mental health evaluation through live, interactive communication, using either video or just audio care.
  • Therapy Sessions: Telepsychiatry, which uses videoconferencing technology, allows individuals to access therapy sessions, including individual and group therapy.
  • Medication Management: Telepsychiatry services may include medication management, allowing individuals to receive prescriptions and ongoing monitoring remotely.
  • Consultation and Expertise: Using telepsychiatry, psychiatrists can provide support and share their mental health expertise with other clinicians, including primary care providers.

Key Takeaway

Online psychiatry brings mental health care to your doorstep, making it accessible and convenient. From reducing geographical barriers to accommodating busy schedules, it offers flexibility and privacy. Whether dealing with depression, anxiety, or PTSD, individuals can access specialized care from the comfort of their homes. Telepsychiatry simplifies the therapeutic process and enhances overall well-being by providing timely and effective support.

Are you considering the benefits of online psychiatry? Take a step toward improved mental well-being by contacting Neuro Wellness Spa. Our dedicated team is here to provide convenient and effective online psychiatric support tailored to your needs. Contact us today to embark on a journey toward mental wellness.


  1. Acierno, R., Gros, D. F., Ruggiero, K. J., Hernandez-Tejada, B. M., Knapp, R. G., Lejuez, C. W., Muzzy, W., Frueh, C. B., Egede, L. E., & Tuerk, P. W. (2016). BEHAVIORAL ACTIVATION AND THERAPEUTIC EXPOSURE FOR POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: A NONINFERIORITY TRIAL OF TREATMENT DELIVERED IN PERSON VERSUS HOME-BASED TELEHEALTH. Depression and anxiety, 33(5), 415–423.
  2. American Psychiatric Association (n.d.). What is Telepsychiatry?
  3. Berryhill, M. B., Halli-Tierney, A., Culmer, N., Williams, N., Betancourt, A., King, M., & Ruggles, H. (2019). Videoconferencing psychological therapy and anxiety: a systematic review. Family Practice, 36(1), 53–63.
  4. Bouchard, S., Allard, M., Robillard, G., Dumoulin, S., Guitard, T., Loranger, C., Green-Demers, I., Marchand, A., Renaud, P., Cournoyer, L. G., & Corno, G. (2020). Videoconferencing Psychotherapy for Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia: Outcome and Treatment Processes From a Non-randomized Non-inferiority Trial. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2164.
  5. Brown, R. A., Marshall, G. N., Breslau, J., Farris, C., Osilla, K. C., Pincus, H. A., Ruder, T., Voorhies, P., Barnes-Proby, D., Pfrommer, K., Miyashiro, L., Yashodhara, R., & Adamson, D. (2015). Improving access to behavioral health care for remote service members and their families. content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR500/ RR578z1/RAND_RR578z1.pdf
  6. Farrell, A., George, N., Amado, S., & Wozniak, J. (2022). A systematic review of the literature on telepsychiatry for bipolar disorder. Brain and behavior, 12(10), e2743.
  7. Guaiana, G., Mastrangelo, J., Hendrikx, S., & Barbui, C. (2021). A Systematic Review of the Use of Telepsychiatry in Depression. Community Mental Health Journal, 57(1), 93–100.
  8. Gude, J., Subhedar, R. V., Zhang, M. H., Jain, P., Bhela, J., Bangash, F., Veluri, N., Hsieh, Y. C., Sheikh, B. Z., Shah, M. R., Mansuri, Z., Aedma, K., Patel, U. K., & Parikh, T. (2021). Emerging Needs and Viability of Telepsychiatry During and Post COVID-19 Era: A Literature Review. Cureus, 13(8), e16974.
  9. Hoeft, T. J., Hall, J. D., Solberg, L. I., Takamine, L. H., Danna, M. N., Fortney, J. C., Shushan, S., & Cohen, D. J. (2023). Clinician Experiences With Telepsychiatry CPost-traumaticare forPost-traumaticc Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 74(6), 596–603.
  10. Hubley, S., Lynch, S. B., Schneck, C., Thomas, M., & Shore, J. (2016). Review of key telepsychiatry outcomes. World journal of psychiatry, 6(2), 269–282.
  11. Moran, M. (2023, May 31). HIPAA Compliance for Telehealth to Be Required Again on August 9.
  12. Schlozman, S. (2021, July 30). Fundamental Changes Are Needed in Mental Health Care.
  13. Sharma, G., & Devan, K. (2023). The effectiveness of telepsychiatry: thematic review. BJPsych Bulletin, 47(2), 82–89.
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