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Catholic Health Services of Long Island Improves Care Access for Behavioral Health Patients

Studies show that prompt psychiatric consultation during hospitalization is associated with reduced length of stay, use of hospital resources and burden on family and caregivers. However, due to the severe psychiatrist shortage, these services are a challenge to provide in a timely fashion. Catholic Health Services of Long Island addressed this challenge using telepsychiatry.

The health network first earned approval from the Office of Mental Health to implement a telepsychiatry pilot program. The pilot program began with three of the system’s six hospitals during peak weekend times: 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Robust process improvement techniques were applied to implement the program. The creative use of technology connects the remote psychiatrist to behavioral health patients, providing a quicker response and access to this specialized care regardless of shift or location, with coverage spanning two counties.

The average turnaround time to complete a psychiatric consult for 341 emergency department patients was reduced by ten hours, from 12 hours to one hour and 55 minutes. A patient survey demonstrated a 97% satisfaction rate with the program (29% response rate).

For more information, contact Ronald Brenner, MD, Medical Chief, Behavioral Health Service Line, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, at (516) 695-7615 or at ronald.brenner@chsli.org.