Dr. Avrim Fishkind, a psychiatrist in Houston, rarely sees any of his patients in person, and that's the way they like it.
Fishkind is part of a fast growing movement in the mental healthcare field where therapists counsel patients via inexpensive, Web-based video conferencing technology.
"We've had just over 60,000 patient encounters. To my knowledge, only six have refused to be seen via teleconferencing," he said. "When it comes to mental health issues and the difficult things you need to talk about in a crisis, a lot of patients feel it's less threatening and easier to be open and communicate via telemedicine."
Fishkind said telepsychiatry is limited only by insurance reimbursements. As more insurance companies start to reimburse for telepsychiatry treatments at the same rate as they do for in-person visits, the emerging medical field will grow exponentially.