Just like most virtual medical visits, teleMentalHealth starts with a patient or their healthcare provider requesting a consultation. In emergency cases, it may be a nurse or physician in the emergency department, or on the med/surg floors. For outpatient care, it may be a healthcare provider in a physician’s office or clinic.
Once the consultation is requested, the mental health professional logs on to a videoconference with the patient, who is in a private location. This could be a room in the hospital, or in a physician’s office or clinic. It could even be in the patient’s home.
The teleMentalHealth professional establishes the purpose of the virtual medical consultation and evaluates the patient. Sessions are typically 45 minutes to an hour, similar to in-person care. At the end of the consultation, the mental health professional provides feedback to the patient on follow up care, as well as documents the visit. In the case of emergency telePsychiatry, the psychiatrist would provide documentation and feedback to the hospital staff for additional testing, treatment, and/or follow up care.