Extreme life situations, such as the one we are currently experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic, force us to find practical solutions that would ensure the continuity of our life habits. Modern technology and innovative platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime have not only enabled us to stay social when apart, they’ve also shown how we can optimize our lives in terms of time, money, and opportunities. The switch to online therapy sessions has made a considerable breakthrough in remote health treatment, especially in therapies of mental health, autism, speech and reading impairments, etc.
Numerous studies speak in favor of an increasingly frequent transition to teletherapy, the positive effects of which reflect in patient satisfaction, and the overall functionality of the health system.
Numbers speak for themselves
It is undeniable that in our technology-driven age, the internet is the first place most young people turn to when seeking solutions to health problems. Accordingly, the increasing number of websites focused on giving information on health and health-related services is nothing but a reflection of increased demand. Despite countless websites dealing with all possible aspects of health, many of which belong to serious health institutions, there is a reluctance to offer a direct personalized online service.
Although the technology-assisted therapy initiative is more than twenty years old, the current situation has shed light on its popularity, convenience and effectiveness. Positive feedback from patients tells us that this trend will continue. Teletherapy could be a reliable and effective way to fill the gap in the treatment of patients who can’t or don’t want to access traditional in-house services.
According to an extensive study conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, of the total number of patients who underwent teletherapy, the number of those admitted to hospital treatment decreased by 25%.
Optimistic feedback from patients
When it comes to the benefits of teletherapy, the opinion of patients is unanimous: it saves time allowing better organization and greater privacy. It requires only an internet connection and a computer, which practically eliminates the stress caused by making an appointment, commuting, and sitting around in a waiting room. Some mental health care providers might ask you to fulfill a questionnaire or check your symptoms online before the first session to better understand your health, social environment, and family medical history.
Teletherapy opens the possibility of access to superior mental health care because the territorial limitations disappear, and the patient gets access to health services throughout the country.
Advantages of online speech therapy
While some online therapies have their limitations (in some, the healthcare provider is not able to observe the patient’s overall behavior), online speech therapy seems to make the most of the available technology. The benefits are innumerable, especially when it comes to treatments with small children.
The online speech therapy experts at Better Speech argue that asides from enabling parents to organize their engagements better, it also enables great progress for children because there is no fear of an unknown place and unknown people: everything is done in the comfort of one’s own home.
Also, the presence of a computer enables the use of various applications and games, which is why the treatment turns into a fun interactive activity in which the patient’s attention is maximally focused on speech improvement exercises.
Can technology cover for traditional sessions?
Although it seems that the only prerequisite for full acceptance of teletherapy is a smart device and a good internet connection, the field experience reveals other factors. The ones who do not share the patients’ enthusiasm are the people on the other side of the screen, i.e., health care providers. Even though most of them emphasize the convenience of teletherapy, at the same time, they argue that it is more difficult to connect with a patient’s past, adding that they cannot get a real picture of the patient’s mental state through the screen because many non-linguistic factors, such as body movements, remain out of sight.
In general, there seems to be a consensus on the benefits of teletherapy in treating mental and speech disorders. The competent authorities and professional associations’ task is to put this type of therapy in the legal framework, while doctors and patients should make a minimal effort (like overcoming personal indisposition or solving computer glitches) in creating a high-quality medical service.