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Update On Statewide Telepsychiatry Program

Photo by Richard Muldez - Provided by Albemarle Health

Twenty eight counties across the state do not have a psychiatrist, leaving many to seek treatment in local hospital emergency rooms.  But the Statewide Telepsychiatry program, which started in January, is designed to address a shortage of psychologists, especially in rural areas.  The program is helping patients get the help they need using video and audio streaming videoconferencing technology similar to Skype or Facetime.     East Carolina University’s E-Behavioral Health Telepsychiatry Center is providing the consultations and so far, the program is showing positive results.  A recent study from the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research found that patients who received telepsychatry consultations are spending less time waiting in emergency rooms and have a lower likelihood of returning for treatment.  This week, I spoke with Deputy Secretary for Health Services and acting State Health Director Dr. Robin Cummings about the telepsychatry program rollout, and how the technology works.

Jared Brumbaugh is the Assistant General Manager for Public Radio East. An Eastern North Carolina native, Jared began his professional public radio career at Public Radio East while he was a student at Craven Community College earning his degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. During his 15+ years at Public Radio East, he has served as an award-winning journalist, producer, and on-air host. When not at the station, Jared enjoys hiking, traveling, and honing his culinary skills.