SOC Telemed addresses escalating psychiatric care shortage

July 20, 2018

A recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that a majority of non-metropolitan counties (65%) do not have a psychiatrist and almost half of non-metropolitan counties (47%) do not have a psychologist.

The shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas has broad implications for overall health across these communities by not being able to treat even the most common mental health challenges, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or even something more circumstantial like grief over a loss. Many of these cases end up in emergency departments where they are still unable to adequately treat these patients. To address this problem, innovative solutions need to be explored, including the increased adoption of telemedicine for acute psychiatric care.

SOC Telemed encourages rural healthcare organizations to explore the implementation of programs for telePsychiatry to address the 55% growth in psychiatric visits to the emergency department:

For patients that end up in an emergency department, telePsychiatry helps fill an important gap by addressing the urgent need of patients that may not need to be admitted but otherwise have no other options when facing a mental health crisis. Dr. Til Jolly, Chief Medical Officer for SOC Telemed says some of the benefits of telePsychiatry include:

  • Speed: Telemedicine consults for psychiatric care exceed any other options, specifically in the 65% of markets with no providers whatsoever.
  • Collaboration: A strong telemedicine program takes advantage of provider collaboration by sharing clinical knowledge and research often in real time which increases the quality of care.
  • Cost Savings: For rural hospitals already struggling financially, telePsychiatry can help emergency departments evaluate patients more quickly, determine if they need admission or discharge sooner leading to better patient outcomes and financial efficiencies for hospitals.

PR Newswire has the full story

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