New Harris Poll Survey Offers Insights into Potential of Telepsychiatry During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
A Majority of Respondents Managing Mental Health Conditions Welcome Telepsychiatry Option to Support Continuity of, and Access to, Mental Health Care
DUBLIN, July 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the use of telehealth services has expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, results from a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll showed that more than one in four (27%) U.S. adults surveyed were currently using telepsychiatry ("telepsych") services for mental health care. Among those respondents who reported current use of telepsych services ("telepsych users"), 62% agreed* that they would not be able to get the care they needed without telepsych services and 67% agreed* that telepsych services have helped them maintain their treatment regimen (such as taking their medication and accessing other support services). Nevertheless, education and awareness barriers exist and both telepsych users and non-telepsych users surveyed agreed* that they wished they knew more about accessing telepsych services (65% and 37%, respectively). The findings released today offered insights into both the potential promise and challenges of telepsych as a complementary behavioral health option to standard in-person care, during and after the pandemic.
"Telepsych has fulfilled a critical need in my addiction medicine practice for continuity of care for my patients during social isolation and stay-at-home orders," said Dr. Russell Surasky, FAAN, ABAM, ABPM, a triple board-certified neurologist and addiction medicine specialist, medical director at Bridge Back to Life Center, Inc., and a provider of telemedicine for substance use disorders in New York. "While telepsych cannot fully replicate needed in-person interactions for all patients, it has emerged as a viable and valuable complement and way for my patients to continue to access the services and support that they need to help stay in treatment during this crisis, including virtual group therapy, one-on-one counselling and medical appointments. The convenience and connection enabled by expanded telepsych use has been a benefit to my patients and I believe it will extend beyond the COVID-19 pandemic."
The Alkermes-Harris Poll Telepsychiatry & Mental Health Survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alkermes, a global biopharmaceutical company focused on serious mental illness and addiction. The survey of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. assessed how the respondents used telepsych to access care and services during the COVID-19 pandemic and gauged interest in future usage, following the coronavirus pandemic. The survey is part of Alkermes' broader efforts to engage with patients, healthcare providers and advocates to better understand the mental health community's needs during these unprecedented times.
"This is our first survey that looked specifically at the use of telepsych during COVID-19," said Kathy Steinberg, Vice President of Public Release Research at The Harris Poll. "We have seen significantly more people report using telemedicine during the pandemic for a variety of health needs, and this survey showed the potential of telepsych to help address a range of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, the survey also suggests a need for additional education and awareness to help people understand the potential value of telepsych services and to support adoption and long-term use."
Key findings from the survey include:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some existing challenges and inequalities in mental health care and highlighted the need for a more accessible, patient-centered approach," said Richard Pops, Chief Executive Officer of Alkermes. "The healthcare system has rapidly evolved to meet the challenges of this pandemic, and an important element of this has been the accelerated adoption of telehealth services. However, the healthcare industry as a whole has a responsibility to continue to push for lasting changes that will expand access to services and medication, implement long-term policies and payment models, and remove traditional barriers so that the standards of patient care can be raised beyond the current crisis."
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alkermes pivoted organizational activities to adapt and evolve across its business and has adopted measures to help support the use of telemedicine. Earlier this year, Alkermes began the process of incorporating elements of telemedicine technology into its ongoing clinical trials so that research is able to continue uninterrupted, adapted an ongoing study and designed a new clinical study to explore patient and healthcare provider experiences with telemedicine, as well as developed new educational materials and resources to support patient access to their prescribed therapies through telehealth. For more information about Alkermes' COVID-19 response and related efforts, visit www.Alkermes.com.
* Unless otherwise noted, all "agree" percentages represent a net, or sum, of the proportion of respondents who selected "somewhat agree" and those who selected "strongly agree" in response to the question asked.
About The Harris Poll
In 2017, The Harris Poll joined the Stagwell Group to create the largest independent data-driven digital market services firm in the U.S. The Harris Poll is run by co-CEOs Will Johnson and John Gerzema, two veteran strategists with backgrounds in analytics and brand marketing from senior roles at WPP agencies BAV Consulting and Young & Rubicam.
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