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anxious woman biting nails

Home Telepsychiatry Reduces Anxiety, Saves Lives

Telemedicine has often been touted as a solution for remote regions with physician shortages, but one area of medicine is finding that telemedicine brings unexpected benefits, even if the patient lives right around the corner. Home telepsychiatry brings psychotherapy to the patient and meets the patient’s needs where he/she is. In the process, the physician can gain invaluable insight into the patient’s living situation—insight that might otherwise take weeks to uncover during in-office therapy sessions. For instance, a patient once complained of a cluttered home; she turned out to be a hoarder. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has discovered especially intriguing results from using home telepsychiatry. Read more

child holding hand up to say "no"

Telepsychiatry Program Combats School Violence

In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School and Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting, a Texas telepsychiatry program was launched to help schoolchildren and teens deal with potential mental health issues that could lead to later violence or suicide. School violence may get all the attention, but suicide is the second most common cause of death among American teenagers. Both situations often stem from untreated mental or behavioral health issues among children and teenagers. In the years since those shootings, at-risk students at these Texas schools have received the psychiatric care they need and, in some cases, have even been removed from the school setting amidst safety concerns. Read more

Stethoscope and gavel

Year in Review: 2017 Telemedicine Legislation

Over the last year, 63 pieces of telemedicine legislation focusing on telemedicine were approved in 34 states, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy. These bills facilitated multi-state medical licenses, defined terminology, and established care standards, among other issues. Read more

Hospital Emergency entrance sign

Telepsychiatry Extends Services Across Maine ERs

In recent years, increasing percentages of emergency department visits have required a psychiatric consult, but the number of psychiatric beds in emergency rooms has dropped. Amidst such a shortage, patients often end up with longer ER stays or are released without being treated. In Maine, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center added emergency telepsychiatry services to their renovated ED in 2010; this allows them to link patients with a mental health professional around the clock. Read more

human hands breaking up cigarette

Tele-Nicotine Can Help Patients Give Up Smoking

A recent pilot study found that telemedicine is effective at helping patients reduce or give up smoking. Dubbed “tele-nicotine”, the initiative at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center focused on smokers in a homeless shelter. Over the course of the program, one quarter of the participants reported that they had stopped smoking entirely, and another 25 percent significantly reduced their nicotine usage. Read more

opioid prescription

Telemedicine for Addiction: Will It Work?

Earlier this year, the annual meeting of the Addiction Executives Industry Summit discussed a new application for telemedicine: treating recovering addicts remotely. Telemedicine is already being used to treat such conditions as bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and pink eye, but the viability of using telemedicine for addiction is still under debate. Read more

Diagnosis of addiction with syringe and stethoscope

Treatment Providers Debate the Use of Telemedicine for Addiction

Can telemedicine be used to treat drug addiction?

This past January, the Addiction Industry Executive Summit held their annual meeting. Among the topics was telemedicine addiction—treating addiction remotely. Telemedicine is already commonly used to treat illnesses such as pink eye and bronchitis, but whether it should be used for addiction recovery has been debated heavily. Read more

Depressed elderly woman at home

Telemedicine Offers Hope to Depression Sufferers

A recent study opens new avenues for individuals with depression: Therapy conducted with video medicine can work just as well as in-person visits. This means that patients who have limited mobility, who live in remote areas, or who do not seek treatment openly due to stigmas may soon be able to access psychotherapy treatments privately from their homes or local medical clinics. Read more

Road sign announcing the next exit, psychiatry

Telepsychiatry Relieves Shortage in Idaho

Thanks to an ongoing shortage of psychiatrists in Idaho, patients are often unable to seek help for mental or behavioral health issues until the condition has become severe enough to require hospitalization. In an effort to provide relief, Saint Alphonsus Health System has partnered with the University of Washington to create a telepsychiatry program, bringing psychiatric residents virtually to rural Idaho and Oregon. Read more

Doctor holding sign that says, "Medicare"

Telemedicine Use Rising Rapidly among Medicare Beneficiaries

In one of the first published studies to measure exactly how often telemedicine is utilized, Harvard Medical School researchers discovered that telemedicine use among Medicare patients grew roughly 28 percent each year between 2004 and 2013. This rise is even more impressive in light of Medicare’s restrictive reimbursement policy: Medicare only pays for telemedicine visits if the patient lives in a rural area and travels to a clinic for the telemedicine visit. Read more