Individuals in crisis can now get the help they need more quickly thanks to a mental health telemedicine collaboration between Our Lady of Peace and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, both part of KentuckyOne Health.
The collaboration connects mental health professionals from Our Lady of Peace with the emergency department at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital to provide a “level of care” assessment for patients who come to the hospital’s emergency room with mental health or psychiatric conditions. This assessment helps determine the level and type of care needed for these patients. Using a secure video conference system, professionals from Our Lady of Peace are able to respond to requests for a consultation in about 15 minutes.
Our Lady of Peace professionals consult with the emergency room physician and make recommendations for immediate care. Patients may be referred for admission at Our Lady of Peace or to another outpatient program or care center.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the U.S., more than 6.4 million visits to emergency rooms in 2010, or about five percent of total visits, involved patients whose primary diagnosis was a mental health condition or substance abuse.
Using telemedicine, Our Lady of Peace professionals can see and interact with the patient to provide recommendations for immediate treatment and further care. They can also connect with the patient’s family to provide reassurance, answer questions and offer explanations.
Prior to the use of telemedicine, hospitals without on-site psychiatric services could either contact a provider, like Our Lady of Peace, and wait for a staff member to be able to respond in person or send written evaluations electronically for review and input. The telemedicine collaboration between Our Lady of Peace and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital has reduced the response time from over an hour to 15 minutes or less in many cases, getting help to these patients much more quickly.
Our Lady of Peace is also using telemedicine to collaborate with Saint Joseph London and hopes to expand the service to additional KentuckyOne Health facilities later this year.
“We are pioneering this collaboration at two facilities in hopes that we can extend access to mental health care throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in areas where limited or no psychiatric services are available,” said Nolan. “It is the mission of KentuckyOne Health to provide wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. Improving access to mental health services is paramount to that mission. Telemedicine extends services and improves efficiency at the same time.”
Our Lady of Peace offers the most comprehensive array of psychiatric treatment services in Kentucky, including specialized programs and services along the full continuum of care, including inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programming for all ages, including children, adolescents, adults and seniors.