"The Pandemic Thrusts Telepsychiatry to the Fore"
Original article written for NYU Langone News Hub
NYU Langone child and adolescent psychiatrists have recently been expanding usage of telepsychiatry to provide mental healthcare and continuity of care to their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health (OHM), NYU to provide telepsychiatry to several rural pediatric facilities. The Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also established a training clinic in pediatric telepsychiatry for NYU Langone residents and NYU Grossman School of Medicine students in partnership with the Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, an OMH-run institution in Orangeburg, New York. While preparing future practitioners, this clinic offers remote mental healthcare via school-based programs in Ulster and Sullivan Counties.
Partnering with NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, Dr. Shabana Khan helped the Child Study Center launch telepsychiatry programs at two public schools in the largely low-income Sunset Park neighborhood. The goal of the Child Study Center, was promoting school-based mental health programs throughout the borough. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent flexible regulations regarding telehealth, telepsychiatry had a great potential to ensure continuity of care for patients. According to Dr. Khan, the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was well positioned to take advantage of these changes, “Because we had that technology infrastructure and training already in place, we were able to rapidly transition to remote care throughout the NYU Langone Health network and at other sites where our faculty members practice."
The article details how the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has seen a more than 10-fold rise in telepsychiatry visits over the past year, from approximately 2,400 in fiscal 2019 to more than 30,000 in fiscal 2020—an increase almost entirely attributable to COVID-19. In the process, thousands of children and their parents have discovered that telepsychiatry offers advantages beyond those associated with the pandemic. “The feedback we’re hearing is overwhelmingly positive,” says Dr. Khan. “Patients and their families are thrilled with the convenience and accessibility. They’re getting the same expert care they would normally receive, without having to leave home.” Dr. Khan firmly believes in the power of telepsychiatry and sees its lasting place in the future of behavioral health.
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