The arrival of telecommunication technology in the 20th century truly revolutionised a number of fields. National boundaries become irrelevant and the world became one big global village. It also led to the advent of telemedicine which would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. Telemedicine is taking the help of Information Technology and telecommunication equipment to provide medical diagnoses from a distance. It helps eliminate the barriers of distance and is vital in serving far-flung rural communities with medical care. One of the main constituents of telemedicine is the telepsychiatry market. At its core, it is about using telecommunications equipment to provide psychiatric assessment and also care. It relies on video conferencing technology to connect psychiatrists to their patients. Telepsychiatry can be offered through intermediary companies or even individual specialists. The telepsychiatry market has truly come of age in the 21st century and is poised to have a very bright future.
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Telepsychiatry Market Drivers
One of the key drivers of the telepsychiatry market, especially in the U.S. has been the severe shortage of psychiatric doctors, particularly those specialising in child & adolescent psychiatry. Telepsychiatry can allow a doctor to see a larger number of patients quicker, thus utilising their limited time to the fullest. Another driver is the rapidly improving mobile network infrastructure, enabling doctors to clinically assess and treat patients in small villages and semi-urban areas. This eliminates the need for either the doctor or patient to travel long distances, significantly saving both parties time and money. Rural areas suffer from a dearth of trained medical professionals along with a severe lack of awareness. Hence, even if they possess serious mental health issues, they might be ignored or even suppressed. The third factor is cost reduction. Telepsychiatry ensures that neither the psychiatrist nor their patient needs to travel. All that they require is an Internet connection, saving them substantial costs. The telepsychiatry market can also be beneficial for psychiatrists seeking a quick second opinion. Psychiatrists have the advantage of beginning the treatment quickly and sharing their knowledge, while their patients can be assured of the doctor’s diagnoses being validated.
Telepsychiatry Market Restraints
There are two sides to every coin. Just as Information Technology & telecommunications have benefited us in numerous ways, they have caused a lot of problems like data hacking, privacy concerns, identity fraud etc. which were unheard of in the past. Patchy Internet connectivity can be a serious constraint to the growth of the telepsychiatry market. Mobile coverage can be notoriously fickle even in developed countries and there are many regions around the world which still use antiquated 2G network connections. There is a strong likelihood of a patient being disconnected from their psychiatrist in the middle of a therapy session, causing great inconvenience to both. A second challenge can be privacy concerns. People have become digitally wary now with all the cases of data hacking, email leaks and confidential data being made public by insider leaks. They might be concerned that their psychotherapy sessions could be compromised or might even be recorded making them reluctant to agree to this kind of treatment. The third restraint for the telepsychiatry market is the ambiguity of regulatory policy. Telepsychiatry blurs the line between medicine and technology and each country has separate laws for each, making governing this field a challenge.
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Telepsychiatry Market Key Regions
In the U.S, telepsychiatry is typically covered by insurance when it is incorporated into a Medicare program. The U.S is the largest telepsychiatry market at present, followed by the E.U. This is because they have the required technology in place already and also the required funding from the government or private sector. There is a higher prevalence of psychiatric ailments in this part of the world and the general population are well aware of the need to seek medical assistance to overcome them. In countries like India, Latin American and the Middle East, a young population leading an increasingly stressful life along with comparatively fewer psychiatrists in percentage terms will contribute to the growth of the telepsychiatry market there.
Telepsychiatry Market Key Market Players
Some of the players in the telepsychiatry market are InSight Telepsychiatry, Iris Telehealth, Arcadian Telepsychiatry and Advanced Telemed Services.
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