Telehealth brings more accessible mental health services to rural Nebraska
KEARNEY, Neb. —
In the midst of a technological era, hospitals are changing the way people receive mental health services that have been around for years.
An effective use of technology, telehealth, is a form of communication via the computer which health professionals are using to reach patients all over the United States.
Richard Young Behavioral Health Center in Kearney has around 20 percent of patients using the service.
"We're in a technological world and it's kind of either we keep up or get lost in the dust. With medicine, we can't be lost in the dust so we are going to keep up," said Richard Young Behavioral Health Center Mental Health Practitioner Bridget Mostek.
Mostek said in rural Nebraska telehealth is very beneficial when it comes to providing those mental health services.
"We don't have the availability that a lot of bigger cities have so we need this to provide services to rural communities which we have a plethora of," Mostek said.
Mostek said one of the many concerns people have with telehealth is patient safety but she said the first initial visit always happens in person.
"It allows us to get demographic information, insurance information, emergency contacts and everything like that we might need. Then it also allows them to be in my office to get them to know my environment where I will be in," Mostek said.
After that, visits are done close to the patient's home but never actually at their home.
"All of the patients who receive services via telehealth will go to a facility. They will always go to a hospital or clinic that has an office that's usable. They'll always be in an environment that will have someone that's there in case of a safety reason," Mostek said.
Richard Young said they always base telehealth services on how severe the cases are not completely getting rid of face-to-face meetings.
With technology headed in this direction, they use the service quite a bit.
"You know I think if it wasn't successful we wouldn't do it. It truly has been successful and it really helps our patients who either don't have the finances to get down here or the finances for vehicle or transportation so it's just been really helpful for us to have here in rural Nebraska," Mostek said.
Many other medical services are also using telehealth for things like general doctor appointments and CHI Health said health professionals are continuing to improve their services available.