Patients who visit the Louisville, Ky.-based Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital emergency department with a mental health or psychiatric condition will now be able to take advantage of KentuckyOne Health’s new telemedicine program which includes the expertise of professionals at Our Lady of Peace, a psychiatric hospital in the KentuckyOne system.
The collaboration connects mental health professionals from Our Lady of Peace with the emergency department at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital to provide a “level of care” assessment for patients who come to the hospital’s emergency room with mental health or psychiatric conditions. This assessment helps determine the level and type of care needed for these patients.
Using a secure videoconference system, professionals from Our Lady of Peace are able to respond to requests for a consultation in about 15 minutes. Our Lady of Peace professionals consult with the emergency room physician and make recommendations for immediate care. Patients may be referred for admission at Our Lady of Peace or to another outpatient program or care center.
Using telemedicine, Our Lady of Peace professionals can see and interact with the patient to provide recommendations for immediate treatment and further care. They can also connect with the patient’s family to provide reassurance, answer questions and offer explanations.
Prior to the use of telemedicine, hospitals without on-site psychiatric services could either contact a provider, like Our Lady of Peace, and wait for a staff member to be able to respond in person or send written evaluations electronically for review and input. Our Lady of Peace is also using telemedicine to collaborate with Saint Joseph London and hopes to expand the service to additional KentuckyOne Health facilities later this year.
“When someone you love is in crisis, direct interaction with a mental health professional can be very calming and reassuring,” Michael Dawson, a licensed clinical social worker and assessment and referral director at Our Lady of Peace, said in a statement. “Telemedicine allows us to help provide that support to families and patients more quickly.”