You’ve heard it in the news. You’ve seen it on T.V. You’ve likely witnessed it first hand: our nation is facing a mental health crisis of unprecedented proportions. What’s a significant factor fueling this crisis? Lack of access. And the COVID pandemic has only exacerbated this issue further.
By: Kristi Sidel, Director of Behavioral Health, Avel eCare
In the United States, more than 125 million Americans have struggled with mental health issues and, in 2020 alone, 83 million people were unable to access counseling they needed to help with depression or anxiety, according to a recent study.
This demand is significant, but the system just can’t meet this need. And, if projections are correct, the next few years will see even a greater strain placed on the system considering our country will be short between 14,280 and 31,109 psychiatrists.
The impact on hospitals is significant as about 1 in 8 patients are presenting to the Emergency Department for mental health reasons, and coupled with a 123k psych hospital beds nationwide, many hospitals are seeing boarding times of up to 10 days for patients waiting for inpatient treatment.
The magnitude of the problem is staggering, but there is hope in the form of digital care. Of all the healthcare services that transitioned online during the pandemic, telemedicine had the greatest impact on those seeking behavioral healthcare.
Considering 40% of all telehealth visits in March through August of 2021 were mental health related, hospitals and health systems can take note of this promising trend and consider how it can be harnessed to improve outcomes and expand access.
The best part? These healthcare organizations do not have to do it by themselves. Avel eCare has been delivering high quality behavioral healthcare services via telemedicine since 2017 and has perfected its model of delivering care.
In true clinician-to-clinician fashion, our team of behavioral health experts are available 24/7 and have partnered with more than three dozen hospitals and medical centers to provide care in both emergency and psychiatric inpatient settings. Led by our medical director and board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Seth Parsons, our team is here to help.
How can you leverage these services to benefit your staff and patients? Here are some suggestions provided by our partners:
- Protect your current psychiatric staff from burnout: We know with the shortage our psychiatrists are stretched thin. Our psychiatric team can step in and provide assessments on nights, weekends, and surge hours.
- Save staff time and develop greater efficiencies. Quick access to our psychiatric team means reducing patient boarding and enhanced Emergency Department throughput. On average, for both RN assessments and physician consults, the Avel eCare team spends 1 hours with the patient from activation to closed encounter. This is 2.5 hours faster than the national average of 3.6 hours.
- Save money. We can provide 24×7 psychiatric support at the fraction of the cost to support your own 24×7 team
- Long term stability and support. Avel eCare helps your team ensure the best care for patients. Since patients can be assessed quickly, they are more likely to experience better outcomes. For example, while placement is difficult and isn’t always successful, in those cases where Avel was able to secure placement, we did so in an average of 7 hours. This is hours faster than the national average.
The behavioral health crisis is only going to be solved through bold action, and we stand ready to be your partner and ensure everyone has access to high quality behavioral healthcare, when and where it’s needed.
Want more information or do you have questions about implementing a tele-behavioral health program at your facility? Contact us today!