Telepsychiatry Brings Emergency Mental Health Care To Rural Areas

Posted on May 13, 2014

North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge - 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.

So the state is trying telepsychiatry. When a patient comes into an emergency room, they can be connected via a two-way video connection with a psychiatrist. A by the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research found that the method is having some success in providing more timely treatment.

"When you ask patients about this experience, most of them will tell you that after a few minutes of some hesitation, they even forget that they are talking to the doctor via this monitor," Saeed, the chairman of the psychiatry department at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, says.

The program uses a secure teleconferencing system to connect doctor and patients rather than services like Skype.


Source material from NPR


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