South Carolina Department of Mental Health implemented the Polycom RealPresence Platform for its telepsychiatry consultation program back in 2010, and has proved beneficial for the hospitals’ doctors, patients, and finances.
The program initially connected 15 hospitals, and has reached 30 in 2012. With it, patients and doctors have managed to reach each other and interact face-to-face over distances with ease, allowing for quicker evaluations and continued care after hospitalization.
Polycom’s RealPresence HDX 4000 Desktop Systems were installed in the offices of physicians, while patients received HD Polycom Practitioner Carts. The carts can be moved wherever a patient needs to be, letting them converse with their doctors and multiple parties with clarity and convenience wherever they are. The SCDMH’s video delivery is also powered by the Polycom RealPresence platform.
According to the Program Medical Director Brenda Ratliff, MD, “The use of Polycom’s HD video is one of the keys to our system’s performance. While the verbal interaction between doctor and patient is very important during a psych consult, the non-verbal cues can be even more important. Psychiatrists can learn a tremendous amount by looking for subtle indicators, such as lack of eye contact, abnormal movement, or enlarged pupils. HD video is helping us provide the best possible treatment for our patients.”
There have been several advances in the use of video communications in hospitals, and the SCDMH is another success story. Polycom RealPresence seems to be working quite well for them, and has helped the doctors help keep patients in good mental health. Its intuitive controls make it easy for doctors and patients alike to use, and with nearly $2,000 in savings per patient, it’s proving to be both economical and effective.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli