Doctor On Demand Adds Psychiatry To Its Virtual Visit Options


San Francisco-based telehealth vendor Doctor On Demand today announced that it would begin offering psychiatry visits as part of its virtual mental health services business. The company notes that its mental healthcare providers generally offer routine, ongoing counseling to patients, and that with the new addition of psychiatry services patients can now be evaluated and prescribed medications to support traditional therapy all within the Doctor On Demand platform. The new services will initially be made available in 27 states, but the company anticipates expanding availability across the country by mid-year.

Mental health is an area that has seen increased interest among biotechnology researchers and digital health entrepreneurs. The toll on national healthcare expenditures associated with mental health services is massive, with $100 billion in annual healthcare services spending, plus an estimated $193 billion in lost earnings and $24 billion in disability benefits. Access to care is also a national issue. In a statement announcing the new initiative, Doctor On Demand reports that 55 percent of the 3,100 counties in the US do not have local mental healthcare workers, and that only 45 percent of those with a mental health illness receive treatment.

To address both the rising cost of care and national shortage of clinicians working in mental health, a number of major telehealth firms have announced plans of expanding services into this field. Dallas-based Teladoc currently offers psychiatrist visits, along with limited prescribing services, while American Well announced on January 20 that it also plans to expand its offerings to include psychiatry during 2016.

While telehealth vendors work to expand access to care, another effort is underway behind the scenes to improve mental health treatment plans. A recent Yale-funded study measuring the effectiveness of using predictive analytics to match new mental health patients with an anti-depressant medication found moderate success in early trials. The study used a machine-learning algorithm to assess 164 patient-reported variables to determine if any could be used to predict which medications would be most effective at mitigating depressed symptoms. The algorithm identified 25 conditions and used them to forecast, with an accuracy of  64 percent, which patients enrolled in a citalopram clinical trial would go on to achieve symptomatic remission by the end of a 12-week period.

Enjoy HIStalk Connect? Sign up for update alerts, or follow us at @HIStalkConnect.

↑ Back to top

Founding Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors