The Advantages of Telepsychiatry
If you are a technology manager in a healthcare facility, one organization that should be on your radar is the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), whose stated mission is to help “transform healthcare by improving the quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare throughout the world.”
In addition to being a member community for sharing best practices, track local and state legislation as it pertains to healthcare and technology, and be connected to vendors and providers, the ATA also sponsors an annual conference each year. At this year’s ATA conference, several companies were recognized for their thought leadership within the healthcare technology industry. As a partner in the healthcare technology industry ourselves, we focus special attention to the awards given to thought leaders and pioneers in the field along with analyzing comparable trends to those that we see every day as we assist our clients in implementing new technology.
Last year, our article concerning connected sensors and asthma was based upon the ATA award given to Propeller Health.
This year, our attention was focused on the Industry Leader Award that went to Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry.
This award came as no surprise as the benefits of telemedicine, especially in connecting patients to specialists who may be more difficult to access, is a common problem in many areas of the country. However, as sometimes happens in a the-life-business matrix, this award sparked some relevance based on a story I had read recently while doing research for another blog on the epidemic of overcrowding in the ER.
Chris Van Gorder is president and CEO of San Diego-based Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in California. He recently gave his thoughts on the causes of overcrowding in the ER. One of his main concerns was the influx of patients with behavioral health issues.
“Compounding the problem is the impact on emergency rooms by patients who also have behavioral health conditions — an increasing share of all ER visits. Acute care hospitals are woefully underfunded to pay for the psychiatrists or facilities these patients require. Yet every day, they come to us for help or are brought in by law enforcement because it is nowhere appropriate to take them. And they stay in the ER too long for that same reason.”
He goes on to expound that the problem goes beyond his experiences in California.
“Throughout this nation, emergency rooms are being misused, they are overcrowded, they're boarding behavioral health patients while searching for someplace willing to take them, and there's a lack of funding and focus needed for behavioral health issues both inside and outside the hospital.”
Those comments resonated with me when I originally read that piece, and when I saw Mr. Boyce recognized for his leadership at InSight, everything came together. Thus, given this context, InSight Telepsychiatry has developed a program that specifically addresses hospital-based telepsychiatry with the stated benefits of lowering inappropriate admissions, reducing the length of stays and improving emergency department throughput. The first step in providing this health care service is setting up an exam room at the healthcare facility, (as well as at the practitioner’s preferred remote location), to perform these visits via a video teleconferencing. InSight then provides access to psychiatry practitioners that perform remote evaluations, prescribe medications, and set follow up appointments. And all the while, this “patient assessment” function reduces the hospital’s risk and liability while also providing all required documentation back to the ER to be incorporated into the patient’s medical record. If this is a need your healthcare facility could improve upon, look into InSight and what services they offer. Avidex can then assist your team in setting up the proper technology to maximize their services.
Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.