Health and Wellness Informatics News

Use of telehealth by Mississippi’s Provider org enables huge turnaround in pandemic

From July 1st, 2020, to June 30, 2021, Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex has experienced 30% of enhancements in its client services.

The Mississippi Mental Health Complex in McComb used to use the very old and limited technology infrastructure in its system. It purchased the latest computers in 2008, which affected the growth of this health organization. But the use of telehealth has improved its turnaround during the pandemic.

Due to the old equipment, they were unable to upgrade its system. The old equipment did not support broadband usages. They couldn’t upgrade any software, some of which expired earlier.  Also, they needed an upgrade to the network’s server. Apart from the equipment issue, they were only able to offer limited services for telemedicine.

They serve in rural, poverty-stricken areas. The hospital is one of the 14 state-sanctioned mental health regions in this state. It has the largest number of designated geographic regions. At least more than 150000 individuals encompass.

During the time of the pandemic, the organization lost dozens of clients per week. It has resulted in a 50% decrease in their client services in the first three quarters from last year. To offer the services through mobile phones was a challenge. Many of their clients have old cell phones with limited data plans. Thus patients refused to use or access services. 

Last year Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex applied to the Federal Communications Commission for the special telehealth grants.

With the $659092 FCC grant, the organization made changes to its services. More than 80% of staff have received new computer equipment. They have purchased 14 telemedicine carts and three telemedicine kiosks. With an upgraded server, they have established the proper back -up system. The upgraded software is now helping to improve staff productivity. 

All the clinicians, therapists, nurse practitioners, and specialists are using telehealth. It has helped to improve the service offering capacity of the organization. They are now using a software service, Agents Connect. It works as a cloud-based platform. It helps remote workers. Also, it improves the ability to meet patients through video conferences.

Upgrading the network has aided them in regaining the increasing service across the region. They have seen a 30 % increase in their client service in one year. This up-gradation in the system is aiding the agency to sustain the pandemic easily.