It could be months before an appointment was available, yet many women entered our doors needing prescribed psychiatric medicine. As a means of managing the shortage of Minnesota psychiatrists available to meet with Wayside clients, our organization became one of the first chemical health providers in the state to begin offering tele-psychiatry care.
Minnesota has a shortage of psychiatrists specializing in chemical dependency and mental health. Tele-psychiatry connects local women to psychiatrists across the U.S.Wayside is now able to improve access to psychiatric care for women at any of our four locations. We use tele-psychiatry to provide psychotropic medication management and crisis intervention for clients, medication assisted therapies, withdrawal management, and medical education and consultation for our multidisciplinary staff teams. Sophisticated tele-communications equipment has been installed in all treatment locations.
In the first eight months of offering this service, 125 women have had appointments with a psychiatrist. By being able to use tele-psychiatry, we have drastically reduced our use of emergency psychiatry care. Since implementation, only three women have needed this level of care over the past eight months.
Tele-psychiatry has drastically increased the quality of care we are able to deliver. Women entering Wayside with a mental health crisis can now receive prompt, high quality, on-site medical attention.