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Telehealth remains popular choice for mental health patients following pandemic surge

Posted at 5:25 AM, Aug 16, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Telehealth services exploded in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic as people feared visiting their doctors in person, but many people began returning to in-person appointments as the virus waned in the spring.

Health IT company DrFirst conducted a survey that found mental health patients have continued to utilize telehealth services at higher rates than other groups.

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The survey found 84% of respondents said they would like to continue using telehealth services as an option for treatment and therapy, and 68% said the pandemic had made their mental health issues worse.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Colin Banas says the findings make sense because the process of going to a doctor in person can be a significant care barrier for some people.

"Those can often be crippling barriers for people with severe anxiety or depression," he said. "Just the idea of getting out of bed or getting into the car is often enough to say, you know what, I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to make my appointment today, and now we've given them an easier way to do it."

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Banas says telehealth services can also serve to fill what are known as health care deserts: areas where no or not enough physicians are around to care for patients. But home services can have benefits for patients and doctors alike.

Banas also says several patients feel more comfortable revealing sensitive information in their home, and doctors can see the patient's living space to ensure they're living in a safe and healthy environment.

You can read the full survey by clicking here.