How teleneurology and telepsychiatry work together for better treatment

modern healthcare virtual health virtual briefing


It was once believed that neurology and psychiatry were a single component of medicine. Defined as neuropsychiatry, this study was a harmonious analysis of the workings of the brain and mind. Ultimately, around the 20th century, these two fields diverged. Brain conditions with cognitive abnormalities that demonstrate physical symptoms are now studied by neurologists, while psychiatrists focus on mood disorders with no neurological physical indications. 

However, even with this current divide and debate between the two fields, the line between neurological and psychiatric disorders can be shaky. For example, it is estimated that anxiety disorders impact around 40% of neurology patients. For others, sleep disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction issues are common, especially for those with neurological conditions that impact day-to-day life. This is concerning, as it is shown that a positive mental outlook has a direct impact on physical health, improving cardiovascular strength, supporting the immune system, reducing inflammation levels, decreasing blood pressure, and even lowering cancer risk. If neurologists want to improve their treatment plans, mental health needs to be considered.  


Combining neurology and psychiatry 

Treating multiple disorders may seem cumbersome for an overburdened health system. Making it more confusing is that neurologic and psychiatric disorders share many of the same symptoms. For example, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis often present the same signs as schizophrenia – delusions, hallucinations, and disjointed speech patterns. Alzheimer's can look the same as bipolar disorder, with elevated moods, memory loss, and disorientation. That is why incorporating a neurologist into a psychiatry practice, or vice versa, can help those patients who would benefit from both types of testing with treatment plans working together. 

However, with the physician shortage not letting up anytime soon, finding the right practitioner to add to a team is often easier said than done. That is, of course, unless you look at other options – such as telemedicine. 


Teleneurology and telepsychiatry work together

Beyond producing a more accurate diagnosis, there are several benefits of delivering teleneurology and telepsychiatry together. Many patients, especially those with neurological conditions, may not have the time or capacity to visit multiple locations to see a secondary doctor. With telemedicine, a patient can easily see a mental health provider with an already established neurology visit. For those with conditions such as dementia or adjustment disorders, sticking to a routine is shown to provide comfort. Not having to visit several different offices and conducting as much as possible in one location can help establish trust and reassurance. 


Evaluations are easily adopted for telemedicine  

Teleneurology and telepsychiatry also have something else in common – their examination elements can be easily adapted virtually. Both types of appointments start with an initial evaluation, where the physician explores a patient's demeanor and facial cues. The provider will ask questions and discuss symptoms and issues the patient may be experiencing. Next, the patient can supply any necessary medical history, medication lists, and allergies. If a physical exam is required, an on-site nurse or another practitioner can document the results to the virtual team and assist in additional testing. None of these components are very different, whether in person or virtual, and when evaluated by a neurologist and a psychiatrist together, it leads to a more comprehensive diagnosis.


A valuable collaboration

As the boundaries of neurology and psychiatry become increasingly blurred, it has been shown that collaboration is critical for better outcomes. Telemedicine is part of the solution, delivering a complete, full-picture diagnosis and treatment plan while making it easier for providers to offer a full spectrum of care. Please contact us if you want to learn more about how teleneurology and telepsychiatry can make a difference to your practice and your patients. 


If you'd like a custom telemedicine solution for your hospital, get started with a consultation today!

Get Started