Benefits of telemedicine for behavioral health:
- Immediate access for critical psychiatric care in EDs
- Behavioral health continuum of care
- Fewer transfers, hospitalizations, and readmissions
- Reduced patient wait times
- Reduced travel time and costs for patients and clinicians
Increase Access to Mental Health Services
In March 2012, there were 3,669 Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) containing nearly 91 million people. The burden of this growing shortage weighs heaviest on rural areas, where ~55% have no mental health professionals. Avizia telemedicine provides technology for psychiatric assessment and treatment in rural regions which improves the quality and quantity of mental health services for rural, remote and isolated populations. In addition, telemedicine will aid in the recruitment and retention of health care providers in rural areas, and enable doctors to monitor their patients from a distance. Mid-level practitioners can provide direct care to patients while being advised by physicians using telemedicine technologies.
Avoid Unnecessary Admissions & Transfers
When a patient arrives to an Emergency Department with a critical psychiatric emergency the patient is either transferred to a regional hospital, because local staff are not trained to handle critical psychiatric issues, or the patient is held in the rural ED until a local psychiatrist is on call. This results in frequent referrals for hospitalization to treat psychiatric conditions that could otherwise be improved by immediate care and an even greater decline in mental health status due to the prolonged wait time for treatment. Telemedicine can help physicians avoid transfers and quickly get patients access to behavioral health specialists.
Reduce Lengthy Wait Times
The shortage of behavioral health providers leads to limited availability and lengthy wait times for patients. Not only are there long wait times for initial psychiatric evaluations, but there is limited access for routine appointments in local mental health centers. This results in unnecessary Emergency Department visits, hospital readmits, and a lack of continuity of care, especially for more complex cases.