There’s been a lot of talk in the media lately both about the need for increased access to mental health services and the value of embracing telemedicine technologies, so we thought now would be a great time to shine some light on a healthcare provider that’s been on the vanguard of both.
From its main facility in Lincoln, Premier Psychiatric Group provides a wide range of outpatient psychiatric services to individuals in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa – states known for their rural populations – and for years, founder Dr. Walter Duffy and his staff used Nebraska’s statewide telemedicine network to meet with patients living in towns and communities up to several hours away. But a combination of network issues, poor picture quality, and myriad technical problems continually frustrated Premier’s staff.
“By the second quarter of 2012, our telehealth needs were skyrocketing, and the statewide telehealth network could not support our volume of requests,” said Dr. Duffy. “We knew then that, in order for our organization to provide the highest quality care to our patients and partner with other [healthcare providers], we would need to invest in our own video conferencing technology, as well as our own IT staff and infrastructure.”
Dr. Duffy and his team set out to find a new video conferencing solution to address Premier Psych’s growing needs. They were looking for an option that was scalable so it could grow with their practice, interoperable with third-party solutions used by hospitals and other healthcare providers, and with a crystal-clear high definition picture quality. They also hoped to find a company that was developing mobile video conferencing technology.
After carefully evaluating the products offered by the industry leaders, Premier Psych decided to invest in LifeSize ClearSea desktop and mobile conferencing solution. “LifeSize shined for a number of reasons,” Dr. Duffy said of his decision. “It was simple enough that every patient, nurse and doctor could utilize the systems with ease, and it was interoperable with nearly any other video system, even those that were behind tricky firewalls. But it wasn’t just the technology that I felt I could trust; the people at LifeSize were responsive and helpful through the entire process. They are always available to lend a helping hand.”
Now the practice’s client list is booming. After some initial skepticism, providers and clients alike embraced LifeSize’s ability to replicate the nuances of a face-to-face conversation, right down to the small mannerisms and facial cues that are so important in psychiatric treatment – not to mention video conferencing’s convenience. In a state where an in-person appointment might require a three-hour drive either way, video conferencing ensures that even the most far-flung rural communities receive the care they need.
“Telehealth is our passion at Premier Psych,” concludes Dr. Duffy. “We want to serve patients wherever they are, and our partnership with LifeSize can help make that possible. We have had a good relationship with LifeSize since the beginning, and we know that with their help, we can offer the absolute best in health care to more patients than ever before.”