PHCS News

Princeton House Behavioral Health To Expand Telepsychiatry Program - Connecting Doctors to Patients with Mental Health Needs

Sep 29, 2009
 

PRINCETON, NJ (September 29, 2009) -  Princeton House Behavioral Health (PHBH) is now making telepsychiatry services available to hospitals and facilities across the region, offering them an opportunity to provide more timely treatment to people with psychiatric issues. 

Telepsychiatry is a form of telemedicine, which is essentially medical evaluation and treatment directed by a physician in a separate location. The patient and medical professionals at both ends of the transmission are connected through audio- and video- conferencing equipment.

There has been a worldwide movement in recent years toward using telemedicine to enhance patient's access to needed care, said Ken Tedesco, Director of External Programs for PHBH, a unit of Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS).

In fact, telemedicine has been used by the U.S. military and in rural areas of the United States for many years. While the idea is not new, today the technology is becoming more available and affordable than ever.  As a result, hospitals are adopting the technology at the community level to enhance patient experiences in the Emergency Room by speeding the delivery of care. Patients no longer need to wait for physicians to drive to the E.R.

PHCS's telepsychiatry program connects Princeton House with the Emergency Department at University Medical Center at Princeton. Through the program, PHBH psychiatrists are available to emergency room staff to evaluate and direct the treatment of patients who might need behavioral health services. The program has been operating for over a year.

The service at University Medical Center at Princeton is used on nights and weekends, and only with the patient's consent, said Kevin Sopko, Director of Admissions for Princeton House. In-person consultations are still arranged when patients request it. 

"The experience we've gained in-house has created the opportunity for us to help other facilities maintain after-hours coverage or provide efficient alternatives to their current options," Tedesco said.

For more information, or to inquire about contracting for this service, contact Ken Tedesco, Director of External Programs, at 609-688-3218 or ktedesco@princetonhcs.org