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Telehealth and Mental Health in a Time of Crisis

Posted by eClinicalWorks on 3/31/20 3:29 PM

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Recognizing the mind-body link

Medical providers have long understood there are close ties between physical and emotional health. At least among Western medical researchers, the first forays into the link between mind and body took place more than a century ago, as described in this article from the Minnesota State Medical Association.

Over time, practitioners have come to appreciate the role of stress in daily life, as well as the broad range of non-medical factors known today as Social Determinants of Health.

The arrival of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, while first and foremost a medical challenge, is also putting new emphasis on the need for mental health services. Around the globe, people are being urged — or required — to stay in their homes as much as possible and carefully limit their contact with others.

Social distancing, pros and cons

Social distancing has become the new norm in societies worldwide, and no one disputes that keeping one’s distance will play a critical role in reducing the rate at which coronavirus and its associated illness — COVID-19 — spreads.

The need to create distance in medical encounters is driving a rapid expansion of telehealth services for providers of all kinds, with eClinicalWorks’ healow Telehealth Solutions becoming a market leader in response to the need.

While a majority of telehealth encounters focus on medical needs, doctors and public health experts recognize that the disruptions we are all experiencing can have a severe impact on mental health as well, even for individuals who do not usually experience any clear symptoms or difficulties.

For those with existing mental health issues, of course, the lack of contact with others and the disruption of day-to-day life can exacerbate their conditions.

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Guidelines and solutions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued these guidelines to help Americans increase their awareness of how to cope with mental health during the ongoing crisis.

As a practical matter, providers of medical services — no matter what their focus may be — increasingly recognize that, whether or not there is a crisis such as the current one, comprehensive healthcare means paying attention to patients’ physical and mental health.

Project Vida in El Paso, Texas, a Federally Qualified Health Center that uses eClinicalWorks, is a pioneer in using healow TeleVisits to deliver mental health counseling services. Listen to their story here.

Telehealth services will continue to play a key role in helping practices deliver the holistic healthcare services patients need. To schedule a demonstration and learn more about telehealth, contact us today.

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Topics: telehealth, TeleVisits, telemedicine, mental health

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