Jonathan Evans, President, CEO & Founding Partner, InnovaTel Telepsychiatry
In thousands of communities across America, an acute shortage of mental health professionals is causing patients to suffer significant waiting times before accessing high-quality psychiatric care. One result of this shortage is the influx of patients with mental health disorders accessing primary care practices. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of all primary care visits are linked to depression or anxiety, a trend highlighting the decades-long deterioration of mental health provider access.
InnovaTel Telepsychiatry was founded to address these critical issues and respond to the demand for mental healthcare in rural and underserved communities. “The focus of our organization is to provide timely access to psychiatric care. Telepsychiatry is an elegant solution to alleviate the shortage of psychiatric care in this country,” explains Jonathan Evans, CEO, InnovaTel Telepsychiatry.
The firm’s secure, two-way telecommunications technology connects psychiatrists and clinics. In addition, InnovaTel clinical leadership liaises weekly with their different provider partners to ensure everything runs smoothly. Psychiatrists working remotely provide traditional psychiatric services, such as the initial psychiatric evaluation and diagnosis of a patient, as well as medication prescription and evaluation. They work closely with the on-site clinical staff to ensure proper medical management and follow-up.
“We hold a larger teleconference staff meeting on a monthly basis to discuss how we can continually improve our care. We want to make sure our patients receive the best care available,” Jon continues.
We want to make sure our patients receive the best care available
This solution is a win for all: for clinics in rural and underserved areas, for psychiatrists who are free to live where they choose and work in another city or another state once their license is registered, and most of all for patients who no longer wait for critically needed care.
For example, a psychiatrist in Florida provides care to patients of a clinic in Kansas who had a difficult time recruiting a psychiatrist to live in their community. Another child psychiatrist living in Kentucky is available for both a day hospital program for children in need of intensive treatment and outpatient clinics in another state on the same day. “We know that when patients receive timely care, the outcome is significantly improved and the overall cost of treatment goes down,” explains Evans. “Patients are able to reach their recovery goals, clinics can extend their staff for the number of hours they need, and the benefits reach out to insurance companies, public and private. We expect them to become more and more committed to this type of care as the costs are lower in the end.”
Peer recognition is growing, and InnovaTel Telepsychiatry is now a Strategic Partner with the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare for telepsychiatry. In addition, InnovaTel is working closely with former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, an outspoken advocate for improved access to behavioral health and the founder of the Kennedy Forum. These affiliations align with clinical research published by the American Psychiatric Association that reports that the outcomes for patients using telepsychiatry are as positive as the traditional model of in-person psychiatric care.
InnovaTel’s commercial strategy is to build long-term partnerships with community mental health centers as well as provide consultative services to primary care physicians to help them better access common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety during patient visits. In the future, InnovaTel plans to add certified psychiatric nurse practitioners to ensure a full range of care is available.