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Telemedicine startup Doctor on Demand adds psychiatrists

The move gives Doctor on Demand a total of 300 psychologists and psychiatrists.

Doctor on Demand screengrabAlthough it may not seem surprising, a telemedicine company co-founded by Doctor Phil McGraw, who is a licensed psychologist and hosts a TV therapy show, has deepened its interest in mental health. Doctor on Demand has supplemented its team of psychologists with psychiatrists, according to a company statement.

The move gives Doctor on Demand a total of 300 psychologists and psychiatrists. Doctor On Demand’s psychiatry services are initially available in 27 states. It expects to be able to provide its services across the country by middle of 2016.

Adding a team of psychiatrists means that they could prescribe medication and theoretically treat people with a wider range of mental health disorders.

In emailed responses to questions, Dr. Donovan Wong, the medical director of behavioral health, said it would treat people with anger, anxiety and stress, chronic pain, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, focus and concentration issues, grief and loss, mood swings, obsessions and compulsions, panic, relationship problems, smoking cessation, trauma and abuse, weight and eating issues.

He said the change means that patients can receive two kinds of behavioral health treatment.

“Some patients with more severe issues may be referred to in-person care, and we are not meant for emergency situations,” he said.

One of the ongoing issues with behavioral health is how to balance the push to digitize records with patients’ privacy. On the other hand, services like telemedicine and those offered by drug store retail chains like CVS Health and Walgreens raise concerns that the information taken at these touch points isn’t being integrated into patients’ medical records and just creates another silo of information that can’t be viewed contextually.

 

In response to that questions, Donovan said:

We have our own electronic medical record (EMR) system where we keep records of patient visits. This system can also integrate with other EMRs to share information when clinically appropriate.

He added:

Patient information is stored on our encrypted servers inside encrypted databases. Only strong-encryption APIs may access the data via our mobile application. Our system is fully HIPAA compliant. Employers that we partner with – including Comcast – have given us extremely high marks for our security protocols.

The company claims to have 400 employer customers and said the number of people covered by its service stands at 45 million.