At a Glance
- Brings psychiatry to underserved communities
- Facilitates 24/7 mental healthcare access
- Overcomes travel limitations many patients face
- Captures casework for teaching opportunities
Breaking Barriers to Psychiatric Care
Access to mental healthcare is scarcer than most medical services and Gosnold on Cape Cod is looking to change that. As a premiere treatment facility in a relatively remote region, Gosnold on Cape Cod explores video conferencing as a way to evolve treatments for both patients and providers.
"What's critical to recovery is having care that's accessible immediately," says Lori McCarthy, National Director of Clinical Outreach at Gosnold on Cape Cod. "Instead of a patient having to wait weeks to see a psychiatrist or medical provider, they can be assessed, evaluated, treated, or given access to medication."
Video conferencing has ramped up the level of collaboration from the provider side. "We support nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, counselors, and psychiatrists," reports Dr. Domenic Ciraulo, chief medical advisor at Gosnold on Cape Cod. "Collaborative solutions allow many people to be in the room, whether they're in Boston or New York, so you can have a case discussion that typically requires a team meeting of five to six experts."
From the patient end, one of the unexpected benefits is the ease children have adopted the technology for treatment. "The kids don't ever want to get off," notes Dr. Ciraulo. "The therapists are amazed that this kind of relationship can develop with a person on the other end of the video. There is a real sense of attachment and caring on both sides."
The technology has helped extend limited resources in communities where there is a shortage of licensed caregivers. "We don't have enough psychiatrists and people are constrained because of transportation issues. That brings us to a place of innovation," says Ray Tamasi, chief executive officer at Gosnold on Cape Cod. "We have some pretty ambitious targets. We can see cases in two days instead of four weeks and I think that's got to make things better for people."
When treating patients with dual issues such as addiction and depression, a special level of attention is needed. "When patients are going through withdrawal, this connection is very important," says Margaret Shapiro, director of nursing at Gosnold on Cape Cod. "Patients are really vulnerable when they come here. If they could see someone face-to-face in a video, it is very calming for them."
The ultimate goal is to fully implement the modern delivery of behavioral healthcare to integrate right into the primary care office. "The patient does not have to face the barrier of going to a mental health clinic unless it's absolutely necessary," explains Dr. Ciraulo. "That's where we see the greatest expansion."