Using Telepsychiatry to Enhance Access to Evidence-Based Care- NC Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Series

Using Telepsychiatry to Enhance Access to Evidence-Based Care- NC Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Series

Date
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021
Time
7:00am 8:00am EST
Cost
$
Location
Unknown
Mental disorders are common, and they are associated with high levels of distress, morbidity, disability, and mortality. There is extensive evidence and agreement on effective mental health practices for persons with these disorders. Unfortunately, many people with these disorders do not have access to psychiatric services due to the shortage, and maldistribution of providers, especially psychiatrists. This has resulted in patients going to hospital emergency departments to seek services resulting in long lengths of stay and boarding of psychiatric patients in hospital emergency departments. A growing body of literature now suggests that the use of telepsychiatry to provide mental health care has the potential to mitigate the workforce shortage that directly affects access to care, especially in remote and underserved areas. The North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP) was developed in response to NC Session Law 2013-360. The vision of NC-STeP is to assure that if an individual experiencing an acute behavioral health crisis enters an emergency department of a hospital anywhere in the state of North Carolina, s/he receives timely, evidence-based psychiatric treatment through this program. Aside from helping address the problems associated with access to mental health care, NC-STeP is helping North Carolina face a pressing and difficult challenge in the healthcare delivery system today: the integration of science-based treatment practices into routine clinical care. This program launched in October 2013. Since then, as of June 30, 2021, NC-STeP has provided 48,322 telepsychiatry consults with 7,339 involuntary commitments being overturned, with associated savings in excess of $39,630,600. This presentation will provide current data on the length of stay, dispositions, IVC status, and other parameters for patients who received telepsychiatry services through NC-STeP.