In a recent article for MedCity News titled “Talkspace Planning Extension of Remote Therapy Business into Psychiatry,” Stephanie Baum discusses the online based health company that provides easy access to therapy, creating a dynamic shift in the way people go to therapy, by not going anywhere at all.
The health company provides access to online therapy sessions and certified therapists through apps and its website. People can communicate with their therapist through phone conversations, text messages, and even video chats. This is a significant paradigm shift in the mental health world, moving away from traditional sessions were the therapist and the patient meet face to face. Though the therapists may like traditional therapy sessions better, shifting therapy to a more patient oriented approach gives patients greater freedom in their sessions.
The company matches the patient to a therapist through a mobile app or through the website. It provides a primary therapist tailored to each patient’s specific needs, providing information in real time, even as patients are commuting from work or relaxing at home. The therapists on the app are licensed professionals and often have thousands of hours working with patients. The app allows the patient and therapist to communicate daily if they desire it. It’s also convenient because the patient can switch therapists whenever they want to.
One of the benefits of shifting the location of therapy sessions to the internet is the freedom of time. Patients can talk to a therapist as needed, when they need to. If the session is in text message, the patients are also able to look back on and reflect on their previous sessions.
A new addition to the company is Neil Leibowitz. He joins the team from UnitedHealth Group. He was a leading medical director for behavioral health in New York. Though others have described him as a bit of a skeptic, he feels that there is a significant portion of the population that would prefer online communication for their therapy sessions. Leibowitz says the company provides these sessions on the patient’s terms, instead of on the therapists’ terms. He also reveals that the technology is not meant to replace therapists or physicians at all. It is simply a way to support them.
Leibowitz wants to help the company expand their ambitions by moving into psychiatry as well by the end of the year. This would allow patients to be evaluated for certain treatments through the convenience of the internet. The expansion could expand Talkspace’s target demographics.
To do so, Talkspace would need the insurance companies to up their game. Currently, only Magellan gives reimbursement for the company’s services through the Employee Assistance Program. Leibowitz also hopes to get the company in collaboration with other primary care practitioners. Health companies and Congress alike have members that seek for psychiatric information to be integrated into electronic health records. This would allow physicians to provide treatment with more information that can be vital in some cases. For example, if the physicians knew they were treating someone who has a history of depression or addiction, they might prescribe different type of treatment or therapy.
When we are unhappy, feeling overwhelmed, or can’t find our way through the many stresses of life we need to reach out and embrace healing. We all need help and someone to talk to at times and that can include a professional. Don’t be afraid or feel ashamed if you need to find a professional to talk. With Talkspace it makes it so much easier and convenient to utilize resources to find the help and guidance you might need. Our body, mind and spirit needs to be in balance physically and emotionally to find ultimate health and wellness.