An Encounter Telehealth analysis of 40 rural skilled nursing facility partners in Iowa revealed a 6.7% reduction in the use of antipsychotics following 14 months of psychiatric telehealth services.
Some of the facilities made substantial reductions, including one that went from 28.6% of its residents on antipsychotics in 2015 to a low of 7.3% in 2018.
Encounter offers talk therapy, which has been proven beneficial to patients with dementia and cognitive decline. The company also trains staff on the use of alternative, non-pharmacological interventions.
Evaluations and psychiatric medication management services are also key to its broader efforts to treat depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and more.
The ability of telehealth providers to fully prescribe is critical, especially in rural communities, which have only about 25% of the mental health providers that are needed, Encounter President and CEO Jen Amis told
“Telehealth not only brings specialty care directly to communities that previously had none and reduces facility expenses but, ultimately, it also improves the quality of life for residents and staff alike,” she explained.
In September, Encounter joined InTouch Health and 17 others in encouraging the Drug Enforcement Agency to ensure telemedicine providers have full access to any special registration needed to prescribe controlled substances.
“The ability to diagnose and/or manage a patient’s condition through remote access technology provides significant benefits to patients, but if the patient cannot subsequently get a prescription that his or her qualified healthcare provider deems appropriate, the promise of telemedicine falls short,” they wrote in a letter.