Monday, June 19, 2006
Televised shrinks—no, not Dr. Phil
…According to Kirk Johnson, writing in the New York Times (June 8, 2006), some psychiatrists are going “telemedicine,” practicing over the computer instead of face to face.
…This is especially true in rural areas without a shrink for miles.
…At least 18 states pay for some telemedicine under their Medicaid programs. But the trend really started with the prisons and the need for mental health services in these remote locations.
…Both the doctor and patient “see” each other over the computer.
…All the doctor can’t do is touch or smell the person, but one doctor said when it came to psychiatry this was probably a good thing—meaning, she hastened to add, in person contact contained a lot of distractions.
…One doctor avoids wearing zigzaggy patterns, which can “strobe” on TV and disturb some patients. She also pans around the room to show paranoid patients there is no one else there.
…After a short while, doctors and patients report, you forget you are not in the same room.
…Except both sides have an “off” button.