How Tele-Psychiatry Can Help with the Psychiatry Candidate ShortageMay 13th, 2011 1 Min read Blog
With psychiatry demand increasing, candidates are fielding more offers than in prior years, which has led to increased negotiations. Employers have responded with increased base salaries, sign-on bonuses, loan-repayment, longer CME, bigger stipends etc. On the bright side, the increase in graduating residents and child fellows is roughly 19 percent, which falls in line with the Bureau of Labor Statistics growth estimate for psychiatry (14-19 percent through 2014). On the not-so-bright side, the vast majority of those candidates focus their efforts on metro hubs: New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Miami etc. Those numbers also do not address the fastest-growing areas of psychiatry: geriatric and addictions, which have surpassed child/adolescent psychiatry in shortage in many areas. Employers are continually looking for creative ways to work with candidates to meet the demands of their communities. In addition to the compensation trends noted above, some facilities are looking at "flex" schedules, outsourcing calls independent contractor setups, three-party agreements and other arrangements that can pool psychiatrists' resources, such as tele-psychiatry. Tele-psychiatry has been around for years, but improvements to the technology, increased bandwidth and lessons learned on how to tailor service for tele-psych, combined with the increasing demand for psychiatry services, is putting tele-psychiatry back into mix of alternative options for mental health providers. Challenges still exist, but many organizations have developed core competencies that allow them to successfully implement tele-psych services and generate revenue. Some of those organizations are looking to expand and have asked CompHealth for assistance in identifying partners that want to take advantage of tele-psychiatry as a means to meet the growing demand in the community for psychiatry. Tele-psych services may not work in every setting. But for some facilities, partnering with a service could reduce the reliance on a traditional psychiatrist model and even expand coverage. The facility can leverage the organizations network of tele-psych physicians to cover services locally or expand the service area. As noted, these organizations have tele-psychiatry as their core competency -- not just an individual psychiatrist or two who happens to own some equipment. These organizations are established providers with proven systems and protocols for conducting tele-psych services. If you are interested in tele-psych and have questions, feel free to leave comments below.