Skip to Content
Close Icon

Protecting mental health via telemedicine

Dr. Dagoberto Heredia provides psychiatric care for patients of all ages with a range of problems, and he sees patients at the Holton Family Health Center three days each week. He helps children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly find the right medications to treat anxiety, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, and other issues. He usually has one or two new patients each week, and he sees steady demand for mental health services, which he provides in both English and Spanish.  

COVID-19 hasn’t changed any of that, but it has changed how he sees his patients: Right now, he sees them mostly through telemedicine rather than in person.

Dr. Heredia said telemedicine has some advantages. “It’s been positive because I’m able to interview patients in their home and their own environment. It gives me more insight,” he said.

Children and adolescents, in particular, respond well. “Many children come into the office and are reluctant to speak, but being at home, they feel more at ease. That anxiety of being in the office with a doctor in front of them and a place that’s more intimidating is eliminated,” Dr. Heredia said.

Elderly patients or those with physical limitations also appreciate the comfort and convenience of being able to connect to Dr. Heredia via phone, tablet, or computer rather than traveling to the clinic. When he asks for feedback, the majority like using the technology. Technical issues have not posed significant problems. “In general, it’s been pretty easy. There are glitches here and there, but we have always been able to work them out,” Dr. Heredia said.

Dr. Heredia is careful to ask his patients how they are coping with the pandemic and the worries it has brought, and he’s thankful for the opportunity to use telemedicine. “Mental health is a needed specialty of medicine, and the need is understandable now more than ever because of our current climate,” he said.

Dr. Heredia said more experience with telemedicine is helping him provide better care for patients. “In medicine, everything is always evolving. If we don’t evolve with the times, we will be caught behind. We as clinicians should always remain open-minded and be willing to look at new ways to provide the best patient care,” Dr. Heredia said.   


  • * - Indicates a required field