Telepsychiatry in use at Starr Commonwealth

Dr. Jim Longhurst

Dr. Jim Longhurst

Using Technology in treatment of youth

Dr. James Longhurst, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services & Director of Montcalm Schools

The Detroit Free Press recently published a story (Video Psychiatry takes hold in state, Nov. 15, 2009) that estimates about half-a-million children across the state of Michigan are in need of help but there are only about 200 child psychiatrists available.

With that said, more psychologists and psychiatrists are turning to technology to meet the growing demand. Telepsychiatry services, according to the article by Free Press Staff Writer Megha Satyanarayana, are efficient ways to see large numbers of young patients where distance and availability are issues.

For this same reason, Starr Commonwealth has begun using telepsychiatry services with the youth in our care. For example, a young man in the residential program in Van Wert, Ohio, will meet face-to-face for the first initial assessment with Starr’s psychologist in Columbus, Ohio. Subsequent sessions, however, are then conducted by way of telepsychiatry, where the youth and doctor connect through videoconferencing.

Starr is currently looking at ways to expand its use of technology in meeting the needs of youth in our care, specifically with the students of Montcalm Schools, many of which come to us with mental health diagnoses. We currently are in talks with faculty and staff of Michigan State University’s telepyschiatry program to create a strategy for utilizing the university’s service in our program.

To read the entire Free Press article, please follow this link: http://freep.com/article/20091115/NEWS05/911150525/1007/NEWS05/No-psychiatrist-nearby?-Turn-on-the-screen

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