SOC Telemed Addresses Escalating Psychiatric Care Shortage

Innovations in TelePsychiatry Critical in Rural Communities


RESTON, Va. – (July 19, 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, the leader in acute care telemedicine, encourages rural healthcare organizations to explore the implementation of programs for telePsychiatry to address the 55 percent growth in psychiatric visits to the emergency department:

“The shortage of psychiatric care in rural areas has repercussions on both the patient and provider level,” says Dr. Til Jolly, Chief Medical Officer for SOC Telemed. “TelePsychiatry solutions address the growing rate of psychiatric visits to the emergency department, reducing the average length of psychiatric patient stays, increasing discharge rates, allowing for faster response rates to see patients, reducing boarding costs, and increasing emergency department bed capacity.”

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.  Jolly says some of the benefits of telePsychiatry include:

  1. Speed: telemedicine consults for psychiatric care exceed any other options, specifically in the 65% of markets with no providers whatsoever.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

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About SOC Telemed

SOC Telemed (SOC) is the largest national provider of telemedicine technology and solutions to hospitals, health systems, post-acute providers, physician networks, value-based care organizations, and health plans. Built on proven and scalable infrastructure as an enterprise-wide solution, SOC’s technology platform, Telemed IQ, rapidly deploys and seamlessly optimizes telemedicine programs across the continuum of care. SOC provides a supportive and dedicated partner presence, virtually delivering patient care through teleNeurology, telePsychiatry and teleICU as well as enabling healthcare organizations to build sustainable telemedicine programs in any clinical specialty. SOC enables organizations to enrich their care models and touch more lives by supplying healthcare teams with industry-leading solutions that drive improved clinical care, patient outcomes, and organizational health. The company was the first provider of acute clinical telemedicine services to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and has maintained that accreditation every year since inception. SOC Telemed is backed by Warburg Pincus and CRG.  For more information, visit www.soctelemed.com.