TELEMEDICINE

InteCare continues to discuss and explore options for implementing a Telemedicine program. InteCare is in the process of gaining feedback from providers in order to have a better perspective of the Network ’ s needs. The overall goal is to develop a program model to help providers gain access to Telemedicine services across the Network.

Research is showing more and more the trend toward Telemedicine, especially in today’s healthcare climate. Access to psychiatrists in particular has been more challenging, especially in rural areas or for specialized physicians such as Child psychiatrists. Often locum tenums are used which can be very costly, or coverage is minimal and access issues become a problem.

InteCare had initial discussions with the Network CMHC’s during teleconference calls last summer. InteCare then scheduled and held a demonstration in the fall with Adapt Telehealth Inc., a company based out of Missouri that provides various Telehealth technology and services. This meeting entailed a live demonstration of different technology available and the group discussed concepts regarding the use of Telemedicine and feasibility of cost. InteCare has also had follow up with a few CMHC’s to have more detailed conversations about the best fit and model for a Telemedicine program which could provide services across organizations.

According to the literature, Telemedicine is growing despite some of the barriers. Overall there are many benefits of Telemedicine. Some include the ability to:

  • Reduce costs
  • Streamline services
  • Improve patient care
  • Improve access to specialty services and care
  • Expand outreach services
  • Improve patient outcomes and follow up care.

American Medical News writes, “ the use of telemedicine is expected to grow as the demand for healthcare services continues to increase. The technology only gets better and better, so it will be easier and easier for people to access it. ”

There are a lot of options for successful delivery of Telemedicine related to program design, equipment and services: the challenge is to develop a model that works Network wide and makes financial sense for all the parties involved. InteCare is in the process of compiling specific survey questions for the Network in order to have a greater understanding and definition of the scope of work, as well as aid in targeting the Network ’ s needs and infrastructure appropriately.

As InteCare moves forward in developing and implementing a Telemedicine service program there will be ongoing communication and request for information from the Network. InteCare will soon be sending out additional survey questions to the Network CMHC’s to obtain input that is critical to making this program work. Please look for and complete the survey. If you have questions or comments regarding the Telemedicine program, please contact Stacy Veach, Clinical and Provider Relations Director at 317.522.2764 or sveach@intecare.org.