Spacer. Video Conferencing Solution Breaks Down Barriers to Mental Health Treatment photo.

IVCi's Video Conferencing Solution Breaks Down Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

By Nina Parker

The challenge

Severe anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders are debilitating conditions which affect millions of Americans every year. Although psychotherapy combined with prescription medication has been found to be an effective means for alleviating such afflictions, many sufferers go without treatment. Kings View Behavioral Health System was established to provide mental health services like psychotherapy to the thousands of children, adolescents, adults, and families throughout Central California who need treatment.

Kings View's main clinic is located in Fresno, California, where its staff of psychiatrists is headquartered. This location was not easily accessible to all residents; therefore many people who needed care were not receiving it. To accommodate these remotely located residents, doctors frequently traveled from the main clinic to various rural communities - a costly and time-consuming system.

Kings View needed a more efficient way for its psychiatrists to see remotely located patients. John Kasdorf, Chief of Network Security and Director of Information Technology at Kings View, contacted industry expert IVCi to assist him in enhancing his telepsychiatry solution to allow more Kings View doctors to counsel patients without having to spend valuable time and money traveling to each location.

The solution

IVCi assisted Kings View in designing a TANDBERG solution, which included infrastructure products like a TANDBERG MCU, gateway, gatekeeper, and set top video conferencing system. The TANDBERG solution was used to create a scalable telepsychiatry network that connected each satellite clinic via a video conferencing end point to the main Fresno location. This gave remote clinics access to Fresno-based psychiatrists on a regular basis.

Many patients were already seeing a social worker or a case worker at their local clinic, so the video conferencing capability functioned as an extension of the services the clinics could provide. This convenient solution involved little change to the patients' health care routine.

"IVCi provided a solution that would seamlessly migrate into my existing network, and that can be used in each clinic. Instead of going in only to see their case worker, the patient can also be treated by a psychiatrist over video," Mr. Kasdorf said. "The patient does not have to interact with the technology; they simply walk into the room and the session can begin."

This setup was also designed to be convenient for both doctor and patient, because once the doctor prescribes medication and writes out the prescription by video from the Fresno location, the Kings View administrative staff can simply fax it to the patient's local pharmacist for immediate pick-up.

The results

Since its implementation, IVCi's video conferencing solution has saved the Kings View doctors time, reduced their travel expenses, and increased the number of patients seen. "Previously, the patients went without the care that they needed as much as 80 to 90 percent of the time," said Mr. Kasdorf. "Not only has the quality of care improved, we are enjoying a high return on our investment. Our doctors' time is better spent, since they have drastically reduced their amount of travel while seeing more patients each day. The solution IVCi delivered has also helped us improve the care given to folks in under-served areas. Now we are helping many more people get better."

The technology also had another, perhaps unexpected consequence. Mr. Kasdorf observed that when patients talk to their doctor over video, the sessions are more productive because the patient's reservations are dropped. This is especially true for children. "Not being in the same room as the doctor seems to cause patients to become less inhibited, and they open up more. Some patients described face-to-face and telepsychiatry sessions as feeling the same."

In the beginning of the program, the psychiatrists would commit to meeting with a patient in person once a month. Then they realized that this wasn't necessary - meeting over video was as effective.

Cleveland Museum of Art and Polycom

Watch how Cleveland Museum of Art's Distance learning program uses video conferencing to demo the arts to students, teach a three credit university course and conduct brainstorming sessions to develop new programs.

For additional information regarding video conferencing and audio visual integration or any of IVCi's products and services, please call 1-800-224-7083 ext. 109, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.

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