Three years ago, patients at several Providence Saint Joseph Health’s emergency departments had to wait more than five hours — sometimes as much as several days — for a psychiatric consultation. Now, with the use of phone and video calls to connect patients with remote providers, their wait is less than 30 minutes. By decreasing wait time, hospitals are able to quickly care for those in critical condition and ensure even more patients receive care every day.
“Patients would be stuck in the emergency departments for so long waiting to see a psychiatrist,” said Patrick Lee, product director of telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health at Providence St. Joseph Health. Not only were delays difficult for those waiting, they also kept some patients who needed help from even coming in at all, he said.
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