Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 01, 2020

8x8 Video Meetings Enables Telehealth for Mental Health Treatment

As the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak that is quickly approaching a million confirmed cases, healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for treatment.  Non-essential surgeries and other treatments have been postponed so providers can focus on the immediate need.  But, there are many whose conditions require ongoing interaction, including those who need mental health patients.  Nearly one in five (19.1%) U.S. adults suffers from some level of mental disorder, and only a slightly lower percentage of U.S. youth (16.5%) have similar issues.

The challenge is ensuring these patients receive ongoing treatment to avoid relapses and prevent conditions from worsening, particularly at a time when conditions are anything but normal, routines have been disrupted, and stress levels are likely high.

Retreat Behavioral Health, which provides mental health and substance abuse treatment to patients from its locations in Florida, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, understands the critical nature of its interactions with patients, but also the importance of taking precautions as the coronavirus continues to spread.   To ensure its staff can continue treating patients, the group has deployed the 8x8 X Series UCaaS, which includes Video Meetings, the company’s WebRTC-based video conferencing platform announced in November.

“We are taking all the necessary precautions during this pandemic as the safety of our patients and staff is our top priority,” said Scott Korogodsky, Chief Administrative Officer at Retreat Behavioral Health.

With the telehealth capabilities the 8x8 platform enables, Retreat Behavioral Health is able to adjust to new protocols to ensure both staff and patient safety, while continuing to provide these critical services. 

Thanks to help from Boca Raton, Florida-based IT solutions provider The Monaco Group, the deployment was completed within 48 hours, minimizing disruption to any services.  Now, patient visits and initial screenings are able to be conducted using 8x8 Video Meetings.

“Our on-site clinical and medical staff are leaders in their fields, committed to working tirelessly on behalf of our patients,” Korogodsky added.  “We video-enabled our staff so they could work from home without impacting the personalized and comprehensive care that is tailored to each patient’s unique needs.”

Under current conditions, it’s hardly surprising that video conferencing usage has increased significantly.  8x8 itslef has added three million users globally on its platform in the past week as businesses have had to rapidly adopt teleworking strategies.  That’s roughly doubling its user base in the span of seven days. 

In addition to Video Meetings, 8x8 X Series delivers a complete cloud-based communications solution, including voice, chat, contact center solution, APIs, and analytics.

While many businesses are being pushed into teleworking due to the current crisis, they will enjoy an ongoing benefit from the flexibility of a complete cloud-based communications solution that will enable them to adapt to any future needs, including more mobile and remote workforces, power outages, geographic expansion, and more.

For healthcare providers, the ability to deliver telehealth services will increase their ability to serve more patients, and will help enable more convenient care.  For mental health patients, in particular, the ability to receive treatment from their homes can be a major factor in driving them to seek help because it helps them avoid the unfortunate stigma often attached to mental health conditions.  Patients are able to connect with their healthcare professionals using any browser-enabled device they prefer – smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop.

“Video is emerging as the critical component of a health care provider's telehealth practice, especially in light of the current crisis and shelter in place orders,” said 8x8 CEO Vik Verma, who talked about the value of partners like The Monaco Group at ITEXPO in February.  “Retreat Behavioral Health is at the forefront of innovative care and is solidifying its place in the telehealth community while providing a new and effective resource for their patients.”

The latest trends in customer engagement and experience, UCaaS, video and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are helping businesses across industries, including healthcare, can benefit both customers and internal users are the crux of Future of Work Expo 2021.  Taking place at the brand new Miami Beach Convention Center, June 22-25, 2021 as part of the #TechSuperShow. Future of Work will again sit beside its collocated events – ITEXPO, SD-WAN Expo, MSP Expo, IoT Evolution, The Blockchain Event, and more – to deliver a compete learning and networking opportunity for business leaders who need to know what new technologies will drive their companies into the future.

Edited by Erik Linask
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