Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers clinicians have pointed to behavioral health as a particularly effective use case for telehealth virtual care.
But what about after the public health emergency? In a HIMSS21 Global Conference Digital fireside chat, two experts will explore behavioral telehealth’s long-term potential – how it can meet existing challenges in the industry today.
According to Michael Hasselberg, senior director of digital health at the University of Rochester, the behavioral health sector has faced a supply-and-demissue for quite some time: too many patients, not enough clinicians.
And the demand, he says, has only grown since the pandemic began.
In his discussion with Julie Rish, clinical psychologist director of design best practices at the ClevelClinic, Hasselberg will explain the ways in which virtual care can fill those gaps in behavioral healthcare.
People who live in parts of the country with few clinicians, he says, can have access to specialists in more saturated regions.
Hasselberg will outline the behavioral telehealth model developed at the University of Rochester, inspired by the eight-month wait list he faced in 2012 as a practicing geriatric psychiatrist.
Given his concerns about patients needing those services – to say nothing of the long distances they needed to travel to get to his clinic – Hasselberg obtained a grant that allowed him to bring a so-called tele-mentoring model to the state of New York.
The program focused on supporting primary care doctors in managing older adults with mental illness.
What the team found out, Hasselberg says, was two-fold: New York’s rural primary care doctors are voicing the need to get mental healthcare services into the state’s nursing homes, those doctors wanted the ability to present telehealth cases across the board, not just for older patients.
Hasselberg will discuss with Rish what he’s learned in the near-decade since that pilot program – what changes needed to be made in order to continue meeting patients’ needs.
Hasselberg Rish’s conversation, “Advancing Tele-Behavioral Health: Meeting Exploding Need Maintaining High-Quality Care,” will be available on demas part of HIMSS21 Digital starting Monday, August 9. You can find it, along with other sessions, here.