Provider overcomes shortages
Southeast Iowa patients in need of behavioral health care will now have access to comprehensive resources in two locations, Life Solutions Behavioral Health in Fairfield and Ottumwa, thanks to a new program using state-of-the-art telemedicine services.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Iowa currently ranks 47th out of 50 in the number of psychiatrists per capita. Tracking at the University of Iowa’s medical school indicates in 2012 there were a total of 243 psychiatrists practicing in Iowa, fewer than eight per 100,000 residents, or nearly half the national average. Of the available number of practitioners, nearly 60 percent of them practice in Polk, Linn or Johnson counties, leaving a significant shortage throughout the remainder of the state.
In an effort to overcome these access issues, Life Solutions Behavioral Health has formed a partnership with VSee; provider of the simplest chat software for telehealth.
Based out of Sunnyvale, Calif., VSee telemedicine provides simple, secure medical video chats with Electronic Health screen share and medical device streaming to more than 2.5 million Americans, including patients with Harvard Medical School, Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, and the National Institutes of Health.
Through the partnership, Life Solutions is now able to offer a full array of psychiatry services through end-to-end, HIPAA-compliant encryption that is guaranteed to ensure patient-to-practitioner conversations are always private and confidential.
Tracy Liptak, Life Solutions regional clinical director, stated “Our primary concern has historically been related to the recruiting of psychiatrists, and other professionals, to practice in this part of the state. It really boils down to access issues for the people that live here. Telepsychiatry allows us to enhance the quality and efficiency of care for some of our community’s most vulnerable members.”
Telepsychiatry is psychiatric care delivered via video conferencing technology. It has been proven as an effective way to address issues of access to mental health care to underserved communities.
“By leveraging technology and professional expertise, we are now able to provide patients with access to behavioral health care in areas where it has traditionally been hard to come by,” said Liptak.
For more information, contact Life Solutions Behavioral Health in Ottumwa at 641-682-4804 and in Fairfield at 472-5771.