Telemedicine Could Help Mental Healthcare in Indiana

Telemedicine Could Help Mental Healthcare in IndianaAccording to a new AP report, Indiana has little or no available mental healthcare available in rural areas of the state. Modern technology, however, could help provide psychiatric care to the eight counties that don’t have mental health providers, the 23 counties without a psychiatrist, and the many sections that are underserved. Indiana has 462 psychiatrists while federal guidelines call for 600.

With an encrypted video link, providers can treat the mentally ill or social workers can counsel a patient or video conference group sessions. Setting up the computer and video technology for a caregiver or patient with data that can be encrypted to protect patients’ privacy can cost less than $1,000.

This is particularly helpful in light of the fact that, on average, patients drive up to 90 minutes to visit a practitioner and more than 20% are referred there by hospital emergency departments. “One of the biggest reasons for this (telemedicine) is transportation,” said Joshua Paul, human resources director at Bloomington Meadows Hospital.

However, there are challenges such as with reimbursement from Medicaid and insurance companies, and regulations requiring patients to be in a physician’s office or clinic when they connect with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Smaller hospitals also may not have the space or budget to provide for such a connection.

Difficulties aside, Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis remains enthusiastic about the telemedicine concept. “There’s a mental health issue in this state,” he said. “I believe this is one of the solutions.”

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It is encouraging to see this information; @ we have been trying to increase Access to therapy by promoting Video therapy along with Therapy apps