physician helping a patient remotely using a computer

OSF TeleBehavioral Health: Offering services where and when you need it

The demand for behavioral health care continues to outpace the number of providers who can meet these needs, leaving people across the nation with long wait times or worse yet, no access to the care they need. Research indicates that many of those suffering from mental illness eventually end up in the emergency room to seek treatment.

technician working in an OSF HealthCare data centerIt’s a scenario OSF Innovation is working to end across the OSF HealthCare Ministry by partnering with the innovative company, Regroup. The Chicago-based company provides behavioral health services over live video conferencing technology to health care systems and other providers of behavioral health services. Using this service, we have developed the OSF TeleBehavioral Health program, giving our patients potential access to a network of more than 3,000 behavioral health specialists.

A six-month assessment of the OSF TeleBehavioral Health program was completed following its launch in Ottawa, the first site to use the technology within OSF HealthCare. Results showed that patients were able to see a behavioral health provider much sooner using live video conferencing technology—with a three to five-month reduction in wait time. Surveys indicate over 90 percent of individuals who saw a behavioral health provider over video enjoyed the experience.

This program was rolled out to a second location in Streator earlier this summer and will soon be expanding to additional OSF HealthCare facilities in Galesburg, Monmouth, Kewanee and Peoria. Here are some of the most asked questions from our patients who are interested in this service.

How do I know if OSF TeleBehavioral Health is right for me?

We have therapists on staff who will evaluate your behavioral health care needs to ensure this service is appropriate for your care. Your care team will help you schedule a session within your local OSF HealthCare office.

How does OSF TeleBehavioral Health work?

On the day of your appointment, you check into your physician’s office, get your vitals taken and medications recorded. An on-site nurse or tele-presenter will connect you with a psychiatrist over a computer video monitor and will remain in the patient room in case of any technical issues or to answer any questions. After you are done, if your provider deems it necessary, they will order the appropriate new medication and/or make changes to your current medications. Then you will be ready to check out just as you would at any other office visit.

Is OSF TeleBehavioral health an effective method for providing patient care?

Yes. More than 60 years of research shows that receiving TeleBehavioral health is an acceptable method to deliver behavioral health services, with clinical outcomes that are similar to in-person treatment. This way of delivering care has proven effective across different treatment settings and for a wide range of patient populations and ages.

Is OSF TeleBehavioral health secure?

Yes. OSF HealthCare uses a HIPAA-compliant video platform that protects the privacy of patients and the confidentiality of personal health information. The system uses end-to-end encryption, securing data and ensuring all systems and policies are protected by a stringent data security access policy.

Since this service takes place over video, will I have to see multiple providers?

No. We want to ensure you see the same credentialed provider for the duration of treatment with our OSF TeleBehavioral Health physician.

We believe that with greater and more efficient access to the professionals certain people need, it will reduce the need for patients to access more critical care environments such as the emergency room. If you are on a waiting list to see a behavioral health provider, ask your physician if TeleBehavioral Health is right for you.

About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: Innovation, Mental Health