Cold Spring, NY, Nov. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gone are the days of seniors and geriatric patients sitting idly by, waiting for their adult children to take the healthcare reigns. Today's over-65s have been online for nearly two decades, redefining life as a senior and actively participating in the future of telemedicine. The opportunity to receive healthcare services from home opens doors, particularly to receive mental health support through telepsychiatry.
Older adults represent a telemedicine trifecta of increased healthcare needs, reduced mobility, and ever-expanding internet savvy. As their lives change physically and socially, their internet dependence does not. Which is why CloudVisit Telemedicine, makers of easy-to-use, HIPAA-compliant telepsychiatry technology, believe today's seniors stand to benefit a great deal from online healthcare.
"Telepsychiatry is a near-perfect way of helping seniors cope with life changes," said Daniel Gilbert, president and CEO of CloudVisit Telemedicine. "CloudVisit video appointments are easy to use and they provide a safe, comfortable, and private way for older adults to access support. Ultimately, it's about quality of life."
Seniors need mental health support
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 20 percent of adults over 55 experience a mental health issue, most commonly anxiety, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment. As seniors face the loss of loved ones, feelings of isolation, and other difficult changes, their mental health needs are commonly overlooked.
Seniors surf the web
Given seniors' internet usage, limited mobility becomes a non-issue. Pew Internet data reports that 53 percent of adults over 65 are regularly online and nearly 80 percent are there to gather health information.
Telepsychiatry for today's seniors
"Telepsychiatry is the perfect early intervention for mental health. Baby Boomers experiencing depression or anxiety can comfortably navigate CloudVisit from home for appointment scheduling and video sessions," explains Gilbert. "Later, when these individuals transition to assisted living facilities and have more advanced needs, online treatment will naturally progress."
Across the country, telepsychiatry has been proving its merit for many years.
A 2010 University of Vermont study found that transitioning 108 rural nursing home patients to telepsychiatry saved between $118,086 and $320,517 in personnel and physician costs. With 278 online patient encounters they eliminated over 100 eight-hour workdays in travel time alone. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20070161
A psychiatrist participating in the study remarked that his patients enjoyed and appreciated online sessions, recognizing that without telepsychiatry their mental health needs may take a backseat to the physical needs to those at their facility.
Many seniors, few psychiatrists
Not only is telepsychiatry improving quality of life for seniors, it has the power to rectify many of today's health crises. Supply and demand for mental health support in the U.S. is more out of sync than ever before.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the over 65 population will more than double from 2000 to 2040 to reach 79.7 million. According to the same source 80 million Americans reside in a mental health professional shortage area.
"Telepsychiatry is a powerful tool for our future," said Gilbert. "It gives skilled providers direct access to patients in need, whether 10 miles away or 1,000."
CloudVisit Telemedicine facilitates scheduling, remote video sessions, and billing for telemedicine and telepsychiatry. With CloudVisit, online patient care is easy, affordable, and HIPAA compliant.