Banner Health pilots Telepsych program
PHOENIX (Oct. 31, 2011) – Two Banner Health hospitals are testing a new program that allows patients with behavioral health issues in hospital Emergency departments to “see” a psychiatrist via a secured video link.
The Telepsych program is currently being evaluated by the Banner Psychiatric Center, a 24/7 behavioral health center located at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Emergency department at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Ariz.
“Most hospitals do not have 24/7 psychiatric services available to the Emergency department (ED), so patients in psychiatric crisis are not getting timely treatment,” said Robert Williamson, MD, medical director for the Banner Psychiatric Center and ConnectionsAZ. “The only requirement for about 20 percent of all referrals to inpatient psychiatric facilities from EDs is a psychiatric evaluation and a treatment plan.”
The Banner Psychiatric Center, which opened in 2010, allows patients transferred from EDs in the Phoenix area to receive their behavioral assessment quickly in one location. The center has treated nearly 8,000 patients in its first year. However, arranging safe transportation from a hospital ED to the Banner Psychiatric Center can be difficult for law enforcement, hospital security or ambulance services.
Using Telepsych, an Emergency physician can request a consult from a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner at the center. When the secure video link is established, the psychiatrist works with the physician to assess the patient and can create a course of action for proper patient care.
“Having a psychiatric consultation in the Emergency department saves quite a bit of time, as the patient does not have to wait on a transfer, or pay the cost of ambulance transport,” Dr. Williamson said. “It also cuts out the cost of an additional facility fee, because an inpatient psychiatric facility fee never emerges for patients that we can evaluate, treat, and discharge directly from the ED.”
At Banner Thunderbird, the average time for evaluating a patient using Telepsych is about 30-40 minutes. The process can take longer when the hospital staff has to ask an on-call psychiatrist to consult by phone.
“Telepsych provides us with a more direct assessment of the patient and it speeds up the process,” said Barbara Gooding, RN, nurse manager for the Banner Thunderbird ED. “Our first patient was seen almost immediately after the system was turned on and was discharged shortly afterward with instructions and local resources in hand. That was a really good outcome for us since we don’t have a provider here.”
“This program allows the patient to be seen in a local setting instead of having to be moved across the valley. It seems the patients are more comfortable talking to the specialists in the Emergency setting, and that level of comfort is better for them and for us,” Gooding added.
Telepsych is the latest innovation in Banner Health's emerging tele-health strategy. Banner's iCare program, includes an electronic intensive care unit (eICU) that uses specially-trained physicians and nurses to back up the bedside ICU team and monitor ICU patient information 24/7. The remote team responds to requests for help from the bedside care team, monitors for adverse trends and interrupts before adverse trends become adverse outcomes and monitors and supports "Best Practice” compliance. The iCare program currently has the ability to monitor over 430 ICU beds in three states (Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska) and will be adding two more (Nevada, Wyoming) in 2012.
Banner Health is also breaking new ground with a remote monitoring system for its medical/surgical patients who require less intensive care.
“As with our iCare program that connects expert physicians and nurses to our hospitalized patients in our ICUs and selected telemetry and medical-surgical units, the extension of our ‘remote presence’ that connects these specialists to patients in the ED is yet another innovative way we can serve our Banner patients and their families,” said Julie Reisetter, RN, MS, Chief Nursing Officer, Banner Health iCare.
Telepsych is scheduled to be installed at the Emergency Departments at Banner Desert Medical Center, Cardon Children’s Medical Center and Banner Ironwood Medical Center by the end of 2011, and installed in all Banner Health Emergency departments in Arizona by the end of 2012.
About Banner Behavioral Health Hospital
Banner Behavioral Health Hospital is part of nonprofit Banner Health, the leading provider of health care services with 23 acute-care hospitals throughout the West. Located in Scottsdale, Ariz., Banner Behavioral Health offers a wide range of safe, confidential and compassionate treatments for adults, adolescent teens and children facing mental health and substance-abuse challenges. Our nonprofit services are conveniently located throughout the metropolitan Phoenix area for those who need help with psychiatric and addiction issues.
About Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center is a 513-bed hospital owned by Banner Health—a nonprofit health system with 23 acute-care hospitals throughout the West.
About Banner Health
Phoenix-based Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services located in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.
Banner Health Public Relations
Nancy Neff, (602) 747-3105
Craig Fischer, (602) 747-4447