Talkspace is hoping to change the way people think-about and access therapy, as an innovative digital-health company. In fact, the company just recently hired its first Chief Medical Officer to further their approach. Neil Leibowitz accepted the role after serving as Senior Behavioral Health Medical Director at UnitedHealth Group. What is most interesting about Leibowitz’ acceptance of the position is his initial skepticism of the company’s approach to therapy.
Though Leibowitz admitted that patients may prefer traditional approaches to therapy, his new employer has proved how a change in the system can make all the difference. They offer therapy options through their web and mobile interfaces, so patients can speak with licensed therapists via phone, video chats, or texts. While it’s a far cry from the traditional approach, the patient-based model puts more control in the hands of the patients.
Leibowitz sees the potential of digital-health and hopes to raise the ambitions of the company. With his help, the company plans to expand their therapy options into the areas of psychiatry by the end of 2018. This may present a whole range of considerations and complications, like providing ways for patients to be assessed for medications and diagnosed with possible conditions. This means that insurance companies will also need to start getting involved.
While it seems like a lot of work, it would expand the company’s customer base considerably. In addition to adding a level of psychiatry to the business, Leibowitz plans to begin collaborating with primary care practices. This means that the company would have more access to critical information regarding patients, including medication/drug history, medical history, and other pertinent information.
Using an app or service like Talkspace allows people to completely control their therapy experience. Instead of searching and searching for the ideal therapist, online therapy services do the legwork. Patients are not limited by their location or limited-amount of options. The company can help choose the ideal therapist, based on needs and personal preferences.
In addition, many people are intimidated by the thought of speaking to a therapist. Whether it’s pride, embarrassment, or fear, it can be hard to sit in front of someone in complete honesty. Online therapy allows patients to be completely honest, open, and productive, in whatever way is best for them. This allows many people to feel more comfortable with the option of therapy.
Online therapy services can also save patients money. Many therapy sessions cost up to $250-$300 per session, whereas online therapy can be experienced for as little as $25 per week. Of course, the price of a regular therapy session could be even more if it is not covered by insurance. Patients can have conversations in real-time or communicate regularly throughout the week.
For people who are short on time, money, or even patience, online therapy sessions can offer convenience and help. Patients can text on their way to work, ask questions while out running errands, or video chat with therapists after a rough night. The entire experience is based around the customers or patients, allowing them to pay for the services they need.
A new era of technology has allowed companies like Talkspace to provide consumers with services like no-other. Mental-health services continue to flourish with companies like this, creating open spaces for help and communication.