Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 07, 2012

Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers Join with Video Guidance for Remote Counseling Services

What would you think if you could get all the follow-up services of a major alcohol and drug treatment center, once you’ve completed the program, without having to leave your home again?

Video Guidance, a visual communications company, will help Hazelden and its non-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers to visually connect therapists to patients after they have finished their residential program, according to a press release.

Called Telehealth, the application puts patients in touch “with the tools, support, and fellowship needed to build new lives in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs,” the press release reports.

“We’re using video technology to let our clients access Hazelden’s services and unique expertise in a way that is clinically appropriate and more convenient,” said Rich Friedeman, IT enterprise services manager at Hazelden, in the press release. “Telehealth allows people to get back into the rest of their lives without having to give up the personal connection they built with a therapist during treatment.”

Randall Stross at The New York Times reported in June that Lynn Bufka, a psychologist and staff member of the American Psychological Association, told him, “Therapy delivered over the Internet, ‘may open access to those who might be reluctant to go to an office or to those who might be physically or psychologically unable to.’”

Stross went on to write in his article that some therapists see it as a valuable tool for those suffering from depression and anxiety. But Dr. Greg Mulhauser at says that “communicating online introduces particular challenges for creating and sustaining a working relationship.”  He writes that it can be difficult enough to engage with a patient face-to-face, and when introducing remote technology, visual cues and other important information a therapist needs to work with a patient may be missing.

 “Video Guidance understands the many facets of this disease and was able to translate on-going patient care into a technical platform for visual communications,” said Michael Werch, president and CEO of Video Guidance.

Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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