Hackensack Meridian Health shows the benefits of telepsychiatry

Hackensack Meridian Health shows the benefits of telepsychiatry

In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were 4,024 in-person visits and 6,726 telehealth visits, accounting for 62.57% of visits, demonstrating the need for and impact of the program.

"Without the utilization of telehealth, patients arriving at an emergency department often have long wait times before meeting with an available physician, creating a strain on social workers and other members of the behavioral healthcare teams inside hospitals," said Dr. Eric C. The implementation of the telepsychiatry program has been a tremendous asset for the health system in getting patients in need of immediate behavioral health treatment access to a physician. "As Hackensack Meridian Health continues to add additional psychiatrists to its network to increase the ability for patients to secure in-person appointments, telepsychiatry has been an invaluable tool as we face an ever-growing behavioral health crisis," he noted. The FCC telehealth grant program awarded Hackensack Meridian Health, based in Edison, New Jersey, $973,055 for laptop computers, tablets, a telehealth platform and remote monitoring equipment to provide behavioral health services in high-concentration COVID-19 hospitals, to ensure vulnerable and elderly patients remain safe at home while receiving required medical treatment, and to protect patients in skilled nursing facilities through consistent monitoring. "The FCC telehealth award funds have been used to implement the telepsychiatry program at our emergency departments and to implement a remote patient monitoring system, called VitalConnect, which monitors patient vitals," Alcera said.

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