Using Telehealth to Enhance Rural Primary Care Access to Mental Health
and Opioid/Pain Management Consultations
Help address critical shortages in mental health care and pain management in rural and underserved sites in Washington! For more information, contact Andrea Panniero by email or phone 206-685-5657.
Rural communities are severely disadvantaged by limited access to psychiatric specialists, leading to under-treatment, higher rates of suicide, increased use of emergency services, and hospitalizations.
In Washington, escalating prescription opioid use and abuse have emerged as major public health problems, resulting in more deaths related to opioid misuse than to traffic fatalities (2007), and a ten-fold increase in drug abuse treatment admissions for opioids.
Studies show that telehealth offers positive outcomes and high satisfaction for patients, PCPs, and specialist consultants. Telehealth provides access to specialty care, support for local PCPs, and allows patients to stay local for health care.
Support and collaborate with rural healthcare providers using telehealth-based specialty consultations and provider/patient education for patients with common mental disorders or opioid abuse. Services include:
- video teleconferenced patient evaluations
- recommendations to patients' local primary care providers (PCPs)
- systematic caseload supervision
- access to an array of educational offerings via video teleconferencing
This project is funded by the HRSA Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) Telehealth Network Grant Program
(TNGP), which is a competitive grant program that funds projects that demonstrate the use of telehealth networks to improve healthcare services for medically underserved populations in urban, rural, and frontier communities.
- Establish a collaborative program of Psychiatry and Pain Management consultations and educational services via telehealth that supports underserved rural community health providers and their patients in Washington.
- Establish the acceptance, effectiveness and cost-efficacy of telehealth for delivery of mental health and pain medicine care in rural primary care settings.
- Develop a sustainable model for offering TelePsychiatry and TelePain services beyond grant funding.