'As Good as a Face-to-Face Session' - Telehealth Success
Ailie O'Flaherty, Psychologist at Esteem Psychology
Tell us about yourself and your practice!
Esteem Psychology has been in business for about ten years. We are a small Newcastle-based team of Clinical Psychologists from a public health background. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a compassionate personalised service using evidence-based practice. Each of our clinicians are highly experienced, with diverse backgrounds and personalities that welcome a range of clients.
What’s your experience with telehealth been like to date?
Prior to Covid-19 we had limited experience with telehealth, only using it sporadically and often not successfully. Now, it has now become more mainstream with greater acceptance by clinicians, and very accessible for clients. It's allowed us to have greater flexibility in service provision and the Coviu system is very easy to use.
How has using telehealth changed your clinical practice?
We have learnt to emphasise facial expressions and hand gestures, learnt that lighting and sound quality are important, and have admired ourselves and our clients for having greater adaptability than initially expected under the challenging circumstances. We have had positive feedback from clients that it is as good as a face to face session, that they feel connected to the therapist and that some clients prefer the flexibility of being able to have the session wherever they are.
"We have had positive feedback from clients that it is as good as a face to face session"
What tips do you have for other practitioners providing telehealth?
- Get on board with Coviu as it's cost-effective and easy to use
- It works well with our clinical diary - Halaxy, and clients find it easy to use too
- Work with lighting so that clients can see you well
- Be flexible
How do you market your telehealth services to new and existing patients?
We use our website, Halaxy SMS and email messaging to existing clients. Coviu's information/instruction/'how to' pages have helped us give our clients all the information they need prior to their first telehealth appointment. We also have an Instagram campaign yet to launch.
What are your visions for the future of telehealth?
Online appointments enable participation in healthcare services by anyone who may experience difficulty attending face-to-face sessions, for any reason – family, work, disability, health conditions, anxiety, remote location etc.
It facilitates continuity of care where someone has an established therapy relationship with a particular condition but has moved away. For people in lockdown under pandemic conditions, it opens up the opportunity to access much needed mental health support.
Which features have you been using and why?
- The Coviu + Halaxy integration
- The Custom intake form, which is great for getting needed information from new clients
- The whiteboard with children - helps keep them focused and replicates typical session
- Email links when appointments are scheduled last minute
- Scheduled Sessions -the professional account has the benefit of providing each client with a unique appointment link, which adds to security
- The individual clinician rooms provide added privacy by allowing clients to wait in their own virtual waiting room. Clients like having the ability to pick their own waiting room music 😊
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