The Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) of the Permian Basin in Midland has begun a new Telemedicine program to response to high patient volume who have been placed on a lengthy waiting list to see a psychiatrist.
The Tele-Psychiatry program is a newly-developed method via video chat, and is offered to those who wish to receive some form of psychiatric treatment, but do not want to be put on a long list of patients waiting to receive outpatient treatment.
“Patients are waiting more than two months at a time to want to see a psychiatrist. Some of the patients can wait, but most of them cannot wait if they are going through a crisis or going through a personal tragedy or things like that,” said Bobby Jain, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry to CBS7.
Patients who utilize the telemedicine service will come to Texas Tech Physicians of the Permian Basin for their appointment and then speak live with a psychiatrist located in Lubbock through a computer monitor.
“Most psychiatrists tend to prefer to stay in big cities, so in semi-urban areas like West Texas I think it’s going to be the trend that we have—psychiatrists sitting in any part of the world will be able to treat you just like you’re sitting face to face,” stated Jain.
The new program will also provide convenient care, as a recent press release states that any lab work ordered will be able to be completed right at the Permian Basin facility.
TTUHSC features one of the longest running telemedicine programs in the nation, with health care providers seeing between 450 to 500 patients per month remotely. The telemedicine program is the first of its kind to be offered at the Permian Basin.
“We are opening a new frontier by providing mental health services through telemedicine to our most needed rural population,” said Gary Ventolini, Regional Dean at TTUHSC at the Permian Basin to the Winkler Post. “Our experienced team will certainly contribute to counseling, prevention and therapy of mental conditions to improve the health of the Permian Basin community.”
In addition, tele health can help as a projected 32 million more Americans become insured, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The program was created as a project grant funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 1115 Waiver program.
Texas Tech Physicians is medical practice comprised of faculty and staff from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. It serves more than 230,000 patients throughout West Texas in clinics located in Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock and the Permian Basin, encompassing 108 counties of Texas and New Mexico.