Tag Archives: New Jersey

Telehealth Brings Psychiatrists into Inspira Health’s Emergency Rooms

Original article published on Healthcare IT News

Inspira Health Network, a nonprofit, three-hospital health system serving communities across southern New Jersey, lacked psychiatric providers, resulting in delays in service. Consults have a 24-hour window, which led to bed, intervention and recommendation delays for medical patients.

THE PROBLEM

As a result, it was not unusual for patients to wait longer than 24 hours for psychiatric consults due to a lack of available psychiatrists. Because many patients were accessing services through the emergency department, this protracted wait period created bottlenecks and bed delays. In addition, needed psychiatric interventions and medication therapies were delayed that could help stabilize patient conditions as emergency department staff waited on the direction of specialists with the right expertise.

PROPOSAL

Inspira Health Network chose to work with the Center for Family Guidance and its sister company, InSight Telepsychiatry, a national service provider that aims to improve access to behavioral healthcare through telehealth technology.

“We opted to use telepsychiatry for psychiatric consultation of medical inpatients to promote efficiency, access and throughput,” said Sarah Seabrook-DeJong, RN, director of psychiatry services at Inspira Health Network. “The expectation was that around-the-clock, real-time access to psychiatric resources would improve patient throughput and speed care delivery processes.”

Patients would receive needed interventions quicker, resulting in better outcomes and higher levels of satisfaction, she explained. The new technology-enabled process would also create workflow efficiencies and lend to less bottleneck in the emergency department, ultimately improving the hospitals’ bottom line, she added.

In addition, around-the-clock access to psychiatric consults would improve provider satisfaction as patients would receive high quality, “whole person” care in a timely manner, said Seabrook DeJong.

“This would allow for 24/7 access to a psychiatrist through a remote video conferencing model, which would promote interventions, recommendations and dispositions to transpire much more quickly and effectively,” she explained.

MARKETPLACE

There are many vendors on the market today offering telemedicine technology, including American Well, Avizia, GlobalMed, MDLive, Novotalk, SnapMD, Teladoc, TeleHealth Services, Tellus and Tyto Care.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Inspira Health provided iPads on mobile carts and a Bluetooth speaker that go directly to a patient’s bedside for a consultation. This new workflow was designed to address inpatient admissions going to the medical floors at two of Inspira’s hospitals. While the system does not currently offer inpatient psychiatric services, some patients require psychiatric consultation prior to leaving the emergency department.

“The telepsychiatry iPad is managed by the nursing supervisor, who deploys the cart when requested,” said Seabrook-de Jong. “The consultation with the patient is monitored by either a medical technician or nurse to ensure patient safety while not affecting confidentiality.”

“By creating a clear, efficient process, modeled after an existing one for teleneurology, staff were educated on the flow and steps to accomplish a consistent experience and expectation for patients.”

Sarah Seabrook-DeJong, RN, Inspira Health Network

The telepsychiatry system is a separate, HIPAA-compliant app with the telepsychiatrists documenting directly into Inspira’s EHR. The telepsychiatry service is integrated with Inspira’s Cerner EHR. InSight’s telepsychiatrists document into Cerner, improving workflow efficiencies and allowing information to be shared in near-real time, she said.

“By creating a clear, efficient process, modeled after an existing one for teleneurology, staff were educated on the flow and steps to accomplish a consistent experience and expectation for patients,” she explained. “Having a designated liaison between Inspira Health Network and InSight telepsychiatry was critical to the success of the innovative technology and new process.”

RESULTS

Inspira Health has seen response times around two hours from request of consult to completion of the assessment. It is able to secure a disposition from a specialist, enabling the hospital attendings to determine treatment care directives, consideration of psychiatric admission, discharge, initiation of effective psychotropics, and more.

“Nearly 100 percent of behavioral health consults are now completed through the telepsychiatry provider,” said Seabrook-de Jong. “Only in rare cases are alternative options employed. For instance, a face-to-face consult was ordered for a deaf patient who used a hearing device. This new technology-enabled approach to care processes has allowed us to substantially reduce wait times and improve throughput.”

Notably, pushback from medical staff has been minimal, she added.

“Hospital physicians appreciate having near-real-time access to psychiatric consult information and the fact that patients receive interventions in a timelier fashion,” she said. “The fact that all staff are agreeable to this change speaks to the initiative’s success.”

This model was so successful in its initial implementations that Inspira Health Network has selected it for their newest hospital, to open in November 2019, as it fits the future needs and use of technology perfectly, she said.

InSight CEO Appointed to New Jersey Telehealth Review Commission

geoffrey boyce

MARLTON, NJ – InSight Telepsychiatry’s Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Boyce has been appointed to the New Jersey Telehealth Review Commission. He is one of seven thought leaders asked to sit on the Commission.

The Commission was established as part of the New Jersey telemedicine law that was passed in July of 2017. The law created a seven-member commission that will review information from telemedicine and telehealth organizations and make recommendations for policy and law changes to promote and improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of telehealth services in New Jersey.

The NJ Telemedicine bill was signed by Governor Christie on July 21, 2017. Its highlights include:

  • It allows New Jersey to join a handful of states that require reimbursement for telemedicine services to the same extent as in-person treatments and consultations.
  • It took New Jersey from being one of two states that lacked an official definition of telemedicine, to a state that now defines how telemedicine can and should be safely and appropriately practiced.
  • It allows greater access to care for patients previously not covered for telemedicine services. Greater access to care is expected to result in better outcomes for patients with chronic diseases and decrease expenditures over time.
  • It allows patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes when appropriate.
  • It removes the requirement for mental health screeners to obtain an unnecessary, special waiver for services provided through telemedicine.
  • It allows a large range of providers to practice telemedicine, including: licensed physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, clinical social workers, physician assistants, professional counselors, respiratory therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists and optometrists. This wide range of providers will increase the number of services New Jersey residents can access.
  • It involves minimal cost to the state, while providing greater access to care and better outcomes for patients.

“I’m proud of the hard work that was put in to the New Jersey Telemedicine Bill and I believe it truly represents a gold standard for other states,” said Boyce. “This commission will play an important role in ensuring the appropriate growth of telemedicine for increasing access to care across the state. I am honored to be a part of it.”

For the past 10 years, Boyce has advocated for the appropriate use and value of telepsychiatry and has led the development of hundreds of telepsychiatry across the country. In April 2017, he received the Industry Leader Award from the American Telemedicine Association. This annual award is presented to an individual that has made significant contributions to the advancement of telemedicine at federal, state and international levels. He also serves on the advisory board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC).

Now Boyce, along with the other members of the commission, will play a significant role in communicating with telehealth stakeholders on how and where telehealth can be used to increase access to quality care across the state of New Jersey.

 About InSight Telepsychiatry

 InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through telehealth. InSight’s behavioral health providers bring care into any setting on an on-demand or scheduled basis. InSight has 18+ years of telepsychiatry experience and is an industry thought-leader headquartered in Marlton, New Jersey. More information can be found at www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

New Jersey Takes Momentous Step with Signing of Telemedicine Legislation

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Bill No. A1464 and S291/652/1954 on July 21st which allows for the practice and reimbursement of telemedicine and telehealth across the state. Before being signed by the governor, the telemedicine bill had bipartisan support and was passed unanimously through the New Jersey General Assembly and the Senate.

“Telehealth” as defined by the bill is the use of information and communications technologies to support clinical healthcare, and “telemedicine” is defined as the delivery of a health care service using electronic communications to bridge the gap between a health care provider and a patient. Telemedicine and telehealth are rapidly growing across the U.S. The American Telemedicine Association estimates that over half of U.S. hospitals use some form of telemedicine. Telemedicine has proven to be particularly effective for increasing access to care from specialty providers who no longer have to be physically present to deliver care.

One example of specialty care that this telemedicine law will help bring to New Jersey is access to child and adolescent psychiatry. New Jersey is estimated to need at least 3 times more child and adolescent psychiatrists in order to qualify as having a “sufficient supply” by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

While telemedicine policies vary in each state, the signing of this bill will make New Jersey one of the most innovative and patient-centered telemedicine states in the country. The state is already home to a handful of telemedicine programs, and the new law will provide the opportunity for the continued expansion of telemedicine.

“We’re enthused by the opportunities for improved access to care that this new law brings to the telemedicine industry and to New Jersey,” says Geoffrey Boyce, Executive Director of InSight Telepsychiatry, a national telepsychiatry service provider headquartered in New Jersey who helped to draft and advocate the bill. “We are thankful for the years of hard work the legislators and other advocates have put into making this come to life.”

Some of the highlights of the new legislation include:

  • They allow New Jersey to join only a handful of states that require reimbursement for telemedicine services to the same extent as for in-person treatments and consultations.
  • They take New Jersey from being only one of two states that lack an official definition of telemedicine to a state that defines how telemedicine can and should be safely and appropriately practiced.
  • They allow greater access to care for patients who were previously not covered for telemedicine services.  Greater access to care is expected to result in better outcomes for patients with chronic diseases and decreased expenditures over time.
  • They allow patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes when appropriate.
  • They remove the requirement for mental health screeners to obtain an unnecessary, special waiver for services provided through telemedicine.
  • They allow a large range of providers to practice telemedicine including: licensed physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, clinical social workers, physician assistants, professional counselors, respiratory therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists and optometrists.  This wide range of providers will increase the number of services that New Jersey residents can access.
  • They involve minimal cost to the state while providing greater access to care and better outcomes for patients.

The  legislators who helped champion this bill and ensure that New Jersey residents have better access to care include: Pam Lampitt (D), Joseph Vitale (D), Herb Conaway Jr. (D), Craig Coughlin (D), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D), Joe Lagana (D), Raj Mukherji (D), Jim Whelan (D), Diane Allen (R) and Shirley Turner (D).

The enactment of this bill is a significant step for the telehealth industry and increased access to care in the state of New Jersey.

Telepsychiatry Long-Term Partnership a Continued Success

InSight Telepsychiaty and NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare Continue to Reduce Emergency Department Wait Times with Telepsychiatry for 15 Years

MARLTON, NJ — After 15 years of service, InSight Telepsychiatry and NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare continue to provide successful telepsychiatry services to individuals requiring emergency behavioral healthcare.

Winona InSight

As a New Jersey designated screening center, NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare provides behavioral health services such as emergency assessments, crisis intervention and referrals to inpatient psychiatric organizations.

The services offered by NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare combine traditional treatment options with telepsychiatry. When an individual enters a screening center during a psychiatric crisis, an on-site behavioral health screener conducts an initial assessment. The screener then meets with an InSight provider through phone or videoconference to determine diagnosis and treatment options. This could include admission, prescribing of medication or referral to follow-up care.

“NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare screeners truly develop a strong rapport with InSight’s providers,” says InSight’s Director of Operations Dena Ferrell, who worked as a behavioral health screener for the organization prior to joining InSight in 2007. “InSight providers really enjoy a friendly and productive working relationship that adds value to this partnership,” she added.

The partnerships success is exemplified through conducting over 200 telepsychiatry sessions in 2015 alone. “We use telepsychiatry 24/7 and most feel just as satisfied as they are with face-to-face psychiatrist sessions,” said Vikki McFadden, NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare’s Clinical Coordinator of Psychiatric Emergency Screening. “Before we were able to utilize telepsychiatry clients in other emergency room settings would sometimes wait days to be sent to the screening host,” McFadden added.

“The technology has gotten better,” says Jennifer Plews, NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare’s Director of Psychiatric Emergency, describing how telepsychiatry used to be delivered on a heavy cart with a monitor versus a cart that can now be easily pushed with one hand.

As one of InSight’s longest partnerships, NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare has seen firsthand how telepsychiatry has evolved. With a mission to provide a spectrum of quality services to maximize individual potential through education and empowerment, NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare has served communities in New Jersey for nearly 60 years through more than 16 outpatient behavioral health programs offering effective, affordable psychiatric screenings.

About InSight Telepsychiatry

InSight is the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with a mission to increase access to quality behavioral health care through telehealth. InSight’s behavioral health providers bring care into any setting on an on-demand or scheduled basis. InSight has 18+ years of telepsychiatry experience and is an industry thought-leader. Forty percent of InSight’s telepsychiatry providers are child and adolescent psychiatrists. More information can be found at www.InSightTelepsychiatry.com.

About NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare

The mission of NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare is to provide a spectrum of quality services to maximize individual potential through education and empowerment. NewPoint Behavioral Healthcare is committed to be the leader of quality mental health services in the region.

Live & Practice: Small Towns and Cities

(Original story published in PracticeLink Magazine—Spring 2017)

Marlton, New Jersey

Just 30 minutes from Philidelphia, 90 minutes from New York City and 2 hours from Baltimore, Marlton is popular among people who want to be near family in one of these major geographic areas while enjoying a small-town lifestyle. Marlton has strong community spirit, with several annual festivals sponsored by local government and scores of free exercise facilities, family activities and classes such as yoga and karate for residents.

Small towns and rural areas sometimes present a challenge for health care providers. That was the case when a rural southern New Jersey community first contracted with CFG Health Network, which is based in Marlton.

The community asked CFG to cover its psychiatry needs. But a week before the contract was to begin, there was a new requirement: all physicians had to be able to get to the facility within an hour of getting a call.

To continue reading, click here.

PracticeLink article

 

 

Inpathy Gets a Makeover – New Website Makes it Easier to Get Online Psychiatry and Therapy Anytime, Anywhere

Online Therapy and Psychiatry

WASHINGTON, DC (PRWEB) FEBRUARY 20, 2017 – Inpathy has launched a new look for its website, http://www.Inpathy.com. Inpathy is dedicated to making it easy for people to get access to psychiatric, behavioral and mental health care through convenient, online video calls. Inpathy is the newest division of InSight Telepsychiatry, the leading national telepsychiatry service provider organization with nearly two decades of experience delivering online behavioral health care safely and securely.

While InSight’s other divisions bring psychiatrists and mental health providers to community-based facilities and organizations through telehealth, Inpathy uniquely brings life-changing behavioral care directly into people’s home or any other private place. While the website makes it easy for people to self-direct themselves, Inpathy also has a team of care navigators for users to call or email if they would like the extra assistance finding and connecting with a provider.

Online Sessions Make Care Convenient

“Inpathy allows me to help people who have mobility issues, anxiety around commuting or those who just don’t have the time to get to their in-person appointments,” says Jeanine Miles, a New Jersey licensed professional counselor.

There are many reasons people prefer online therapy and psychiatry services.

  • It’s convenient: Be seen when and where it works for you without the hassle of taking time off work or sitting in waiting rooms. Inpathy providers often have next-day appointments and are available evenings and weekends.
  • It provides options: Find the right provider who fits your needs and preferences — whether or not they live in your community. Access licensed counselors, therapists and psychiatry providers who are licensed in your state.
  • It’s safe and secure: Unlike Skype or FaceTime, our technology is HIPAA-compliant and protects your personal information.
  • It’s completely private: Your session on Inpathy is strictly confidential. Inpathy sessions are never recorded and you have control over whether you invite family or friends to join your online video call.
  • It’s easy to use: Inpathy works on any computer, tablet or smartphone with internet and a webcam. Plus, we offer 24/7 support for tech issues, test calls and troubleshooting.
  • It’s flexible to schedule: Weekdays a no-go? Need to do a session after the kids go to bed? No problem. Appointments are available 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. — and it often only takes a few days from your request before you can meet with a provider.
  • It’s effective: Numerous studies have also shown that it is highly effective as a form of treatment and sometimes more effective than traditional in-person care.

According to Dr. Varrell, Medical Director of Inpathy and a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has been doing video sessions with people for the past 18 years, “Many people, especially children, are able to talk to me more easily through televideo than in person. Online care is more comfortable, less intimidating and it removes some of the power dynamics so people are more likely to open up more quickly than in-person care.”
Insurance companies and employers are also recognizing the advantages of online care and are starting to include services like Inpathy as a benefit.

Referring to Online Psychiatry and Therapy Saves Time and Money

In addition to convenience for individuals seeking care, Inpathy also acts as a non-traditional resource for health care providers or organizations that would like to use it as a referral option.

In a recent webinar on expanding referral options through online psychiatry, Inpathy’s Practice Liaison, Anne Marie Jones, explains its benefits: “With a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers, Inpathy can help reduce opportunity costs in terms of time, transportation and absenteeism.”

The New Inpathy Website

The Inpathy new website is a resource for people who want to connect with licensed professional therapists, counselors and psychiatry providers. It offers:

  • Online assessments
  • Information on the types of behavioral health care providers and the services they offer
  • Explanations on how to sign up, find a provider and book a session
  • A searchable directory of providers who offer online sessions
  • Access to care navigators who can answer questions and help you sign up
  • 24/7 technical support

“We wanted this new website to be helpful for people seeking care and give them hope that receiving behavioral health care doesn’t have to be a stressful ordeal every time they meet with their provider. It can be as easy as a Skype call and as private as online banking,” says Olivia Boyce, InSight’s Marketing and Communications Manager.

Inpathy services are available is most states. Inpathy has its largest provider and insurance networks in California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Missouri.

Read the original press release here.

 

New Jersey Awards Virtua $290,000 to Serve Veterans Via Telehealth

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Health announced a $290,000 telehealth grant to Virtua Health on January 27 that will assist veterans who need access to primary and behavioral healthcare services but may face mobility or transportation challenges.

By coordinating care with Oaks Integrated Care, Legacy Treatment Services and InSight Telepsychiatry, Virtua will offer primary and behavioral health visits conducted via online technology starting February 1.

Stigma, negative ideas about seeking help, perceptions of the Veterans Administration (VA) and a lack of access due to geography and transportation issues make it difficult for veterans to visit a doctor in person. Some medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injury, spinal cord injury and other psychiatric disorders further complicate the ability for travel. 

“For many veterans, travel to see a healthcare provider can be complicated and overwhelming, particularly in areas where transportation options might be limited,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “Telehealth can ease the burden by offering long-distance virtual care to veterans while they remain in a comfortable environment.”

Telehealth includes telepsychology, telepsychiatry, telebehavioral health, e-counseling, e-therapy, online therapy and cybercounseling. If veterans have other needs such as housing, employment or transportation, Virtua will seek to connect them to appropriate services.

One in five homeless Americans are veterans. One in three homeless men are veterans, and about 60 percent of homeless veterans are minorities. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have an unemployment rate approximately 40 percent greater than the general population.

Veterans have disproportionate rates of mental illness, particularly PTSD, substance abuse disorders, depression and anxiety. Nearly half of combat veterans from Iraq report that they have suffered from PTSD, and about 40 percent of these veterans report problems with alcohol use.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.