Tablet-based telehealth is keeping the mental health services online during the pandemic

Health and Wellness Informatics News

NYNJ used its $436000 grant from FC for buying tablets, laptops, and hotspots to enable the caregivers to deliver care to low-income patients.

Stay-at-home orders that took place in March 2020 made the New York city-based Goodwill NYNJ offices close. As a result, the staff members had to figure out how to properly maintain their new PROS for serving people with serious and persistent mental health problems with tablet-based telehealth.

Early during the pandemic, New York State started allowing its providers to bill Medicaid for telehealth services. It greatly impacted Goodwill NYNJ’s ability for meeting the needs of this mental illness population.

The organizations are serving a vulnerable population with limited access to technology. So, it needs a way to keep people engaged with the services.

According to Kim Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of Behavioral health services, their proposal was for purchasing laptops for all staffs. Also, they thought of purchasing tablets for the individuals in their PROS program.

In the middle of 2020, Goodwill NYNJ got the award of $435879 from the FCC telehealth funding program from the connected devices. It also includes cellular data plans along with hotspots for allowing the patients and the providers to interact through the voice and video platforms. This is essential for avoiding the need for any in-person meetings for preventing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

With the implementation of telehealth technology, Goodwill NYNJ was able to increase participation which made an increase in the revenue. According to Fitzpatrick, in both programs, they were able to meet their goal for for nearly 90% of the participants. There are 10 people who came to participate in the multiple groups per week.

Another factor that helped much was the billing schedule for the tele-mental health services. This made the process less burdensome than the pre-pandemic billing. The tablets have made a huge difference in their ability to reach the wide range of PROS for the participants.

The attendance in the groups have also made an improvement in the communication within the groups, which is now more fluid and much more dynamic. Overall the tablets have made treatment and socialization easier and accessible. One program opted for a holiday party, where the counsellor facilitated a hunt for scavenger and a dance contest

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