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What Showtime’s “Web Therapy” Taught Us About the Future of Telemental Health

September 06, 2017
When the comedy “Web Therapy” starring Lisa Kudrow premiered in 2011 about a psychiatrist, Fiona Wallace, and her three-minute internet therapy sessions, the concept – to many – was probably a little out-there.

But this video chat treatment, in all seriousness, isn’t so far-fetched.

Take this American Psychiatric Association study, for example. The four-year study analyzed nearly 100,000 mental health patients before and after enrollment in telemental health services and found the amount of hospitalization decreased by about 25 percent.

And, online and mobile therapy companies have emerged in recent years that allow patients to send a therapist text, audio, picture and video messages in a private chat room.

All this to say that the way doctors engage and reach patients is always changing, and telemental health continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. and abroad.

GGzE in the Netherlands, which is one of 50 mental healthcare institutions belonging to elearning training content creator GGZ Ecademy, is thinking outside the box to improve patient care and help doctors grow professionally.

GGzE offers support to people with severe, multiple, complex and often long-term psychiatric and psychosocial problems. When psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and nursing specialists go through their training, they record therapy sessions with their patients – with patient permission, of course. This material is then available for these professionals to review on-demand. They’re able to critique their performance and find ways to improve.

They record the sessions with their smartphones – which are less intrusive than video cameras – and upload the content into Mediasite where it can be reviewed. The patients can watch these secure videos to recall what they discussed with their doctors, too.

GGzE won an Enterprise Video Award this year for its Mediasite use. Learn more here.

So while Fiona Wallace’s eccentric and self-obsessed version of therapy will never catch on, and rightfully so, leading healthcare facilities all over the world are realizing the power of video to improve patient care and communications. They’re repurposing knowledge from medical professionals that would have otherwise been lost. They see that interactive video technology has massive potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered.

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