Sidney Health Center, a nonprofit community based medical center serving people in the MonDak region for more than 100 years, announced the recent launch of a new emergency department telepsychiatry program in partnership with Array Behavioral Care, the largest telepsychiatry practice in the country and a thought leader in modern behavioral health care. With psychiatry delivered through real-time, in-hospital videoconferencing, Sidney Health Center’s emergency clinicians and patients will now have greater access to appropriate, timely psychiatric coverage to address the growing mental health crisis.
The innovative program at Sidney Health Center implements on-demand telepsychiatry, which has been proven to be an effective form of care delivery and a convenient, cost-effective way to safely expand psychiatric support without the challenge of staffing an in-person psychiatry provider. Through the new program, Array psychiatry clinicians will see Sidney Health Center patients directly in the emergency department and consult with emergency department staff on next steps, treatment plans, and medication, if needed. With this additional clinical support, Sidney Health Center can shorten wait times, make better use of available beds, improve satisfaction, and help ensure individuals are receiving the most appropriate, least restrictive level of care.
“Through this partnership, we feel better equipped to meet the needs of patients who are seeking mental health care,” said Sidney Health Center CEO, Jennifer Doty. “Array’s extensive clinical expertise will enable us to meet the increasing behavioral health demand in our community. In the long run, I envision this program not only improving patient satisfaction, but emergency department physicians and other staff satisfaction as well.”
The Sidney Health Center and Array partnership comes at a time when mental health is a top concern in Montana. In fact, in a 2020 PHQ-9 screen for severe depression, Richland County was among one of the top scoring counties indicating the widespread behavioral health needs of residents. The mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic combined with a shortage of psychiatrists nationwide has resulted in an increased demand for behavioral healthcare in emergency departments, including at Sidney Health Center.
“We are pleased to partner with Sidney Health Center to offer this program in an area where it’s needed most,” said Array Vice President, Liz Bello. “A 2017 study found that 55% of counties in the continental U.S. do not have any psychiatrists. As a result, we’ve seen the demand for behavioral care in acute settings soar. It’s important to efficiently address these needs via telepsychiatry so that all patients in the emergency department are able to receive the care they need.”
Telepsychiatry is very similar to in-person psychiatry services. The main difference is that the clinician is not in the same room or location as you. Instead, remote clinicians use a device with a camera and internet to lead sessions over video. Patients will find that telepsychiatry sessions are similar to using tools like Skype or FaceTime, but telepsychiatry uses platforms that are safe and private.
Telepsychiatry is great for allowing more people access to behavioral health care. There are not enough psychiatry clinicians in the country and telepsychiatry makes it easier for them to see more people in more places. A patient’s telepsychiatry clinician is an expert in their field and trained in providing quality care through technology.
The telepsychiatry clinician will ask patients about the issue that brought them in today. They may also ask about anything that has happened in their lives, their thoughts and feelings and their physical health. They do this to get a good understanding of a patient’s situation and how they may be able to help craft a care plan that meets their wants and needs.
A patient’s medical records will be updated by their telepsychiatry clinician just as they would for a typical in-person session.
Learn more about Array Behavioral Care’s on-demand services for emergency departments, hospitals, and other acute care settings https://arraybc.com/organizations.