Friday, March 01 | EHR Solutions and Operations, Human Services, Care Coordination

Telehealth: Virtual Care at Your County’s Fingertips

By AJ Peterson, Vice President and General Manager of Interoperability

Telehealth is gaining momentum across healthcare by providing more convenient access to care, creating clinical efficiencies, enhancing provider satisfaction and increasing service utilization.  The mobile, web application can be used for either on-demand or scheduled services, linking consumers to high-quality behavioral health and substance use treatment providers.

Telehealth provides counties with new and innovative ways to connect with individuals, creating a new level of engagement to improve healthcare outcomes while driving down delivery system costs. Telehealth builds connections to county community-based resources such as local schools, detention centers or emergency departments (ED), by providing mental health services for people who may not regularly have access to this type of treatment because of geographic limitations, mobility issues, provider scheduling backlogs or other challenges.

Telehealth can become the front door for behavioral health services through non-traditional care settings.

  • ED: If an individual comes to the ED and the staff identifies a mental health need, telehealth can be deployed to access a psychiatrist on demand for triage, consultation and treatment recommendations. Creating a smooth transition to the appropriate care setting is important for patient care and to reduce the risk of re-hospitalization.
  • County jails/detention centers: County correctional systems are inundated with individuals who suffer from behavioral health issues. There are often not enough clinicians available to care for individuals in these settings. Telehealth provides critical access to skilled professionals in order to treat incarcerated individuals, as well as provide them the resources and skills to thrive once released back into the community. Receiving this type of care while detained is highly influential and can serve them well once their time served is complete.
  • Schools: Adolescents often struggle with behavioral health issues, and a school is a safe and convenient place for a student to receive mental health counseling services. However, many schools aren’t equipped with the level of care needed for more serious issues. Others may be located in rural area with limited access to psychiatric services. Through telehealth, the student can receive proper care, overcoming the transportation and access to clinical services.
  • Responding law enforcement: When law enforcement responds to a call with an individual in crisis, connecting with a behavioral health specialist who can triage and stabilize the individual is a better intervention than incarceration. Law enforcement officers in the field can leverage telehealth on the scene to connect with a behavioral health specialist to virtually assess and recommend appropriate care for the individual instead of a costly ED visit or arrest, which is does not address the immediate need of the individual.

Telehealth provides counties and efficiency, scalable and economically viable way to connect their local resources to individuals who are in the most need of them. Telehealth provides a robust and dynamic virtual platform that brings care to individuals in any county when they need it most.

 

 

Meet the Author

AJ Peterson Blog Photo
AJ Peterson · Vice President and General Manager of Interoperability

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