Telemental Health the Dilemma Over Adoption Research Paper

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Telemental Health

The Dilemma Over Adoption Telemental Health Services

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Technology innovation can have a transformative effect on our shared way of life. Though we typically reserve our enthusiasm for those technologies which improve our recreation, which stimulate our imagination and which provide us with happy distraction, it is also true that technology in the best of hands can be used to improve the quality of human life altogether. So is this the case in such fields as healthcare and mental health support. Fundamental to the functionality of modern society and yet both plagued by critical needs and problematic realities, these are areas in which emerging technologies already coming into market readiness may be pushed into practice by virtue of their paired economic viability and social responsibility. So is this the case with telehealth in general and telemental health in more specific terms. The case scenario is framed within the state of Utah, where this new technology is enabling us increasingly to access those who have otherwise been isolated by health issues, geographical obstacles or financial limitations. Moreover, this technology has the capacity to reduce the expenditure of resource and labor during the counseling process. These features make telemental health service integration a rational and recommended course of action for our facilities. The discussion hereafter will provide a background, literature review and research proposal designed to support the hypothesis that telemental health services will both improve the reach of our facilities and reduce waste costs. As we attempt with this account to resolve concerns cited by my colleagues such as liability and viability, we will explore the implications of this new technology to the field of mental health services in a more general sense as well.

Background:

TOPIC: Research Paper on Telemental Health the Dilemma Over Adoption Telemental Assignment

The discussion here will first present the technological developments taking place in the area of telehealth by virtue of proliferating broadband technology. Subsequently, observations will be offered on the business implications of telemedicine and the socio-cultural implications of its increased use in the mental health services context. Telemedicine may offer a partial solution to the problems of our healthcare industry by arming healthcare providers, businesses and individual laborers with the opportunity to access medical attention at a mere fraction of its traditional costs. (Sahadi, 1) A strategy which employs the telecommunication and information technology advances at our disposal to the benefit of the medical practice, telemedicine approaches suggest that treatment and consultation can actually be provided through the medium of the internet, arming providers with the relatively affordable few tools needed to add a new channel for healthcare access. This is promising because the healthcare industry is problematically unequal even as its practitioners and policy-makers seem to have spread it so thin by way of labor shortages. (Media Relations, 1)

The account herein will offer a discussion on emerging technologies which are inclining the further adoption of telemedicine strategies in the field of mental health services, resulting in a proliferation of evidence to suggest the practical benefits of mental health counseling through the online medium and helping to increase the clarity and consensus on questions of legal liability relating to the provision of mental health services through said medium. With the integration of internet technologies into everyday business functions, it seems an intuitive leap to consider the ways in which advancing communication and information tools might help to improve the quality and accessibility of mental healthcare which cutting down on the costs and labor imposed upon our therapy group by day-to-day operation.

This speaks to one of the core imperatives for the present research. Namely, in spite of the internal resistance which we have experienced in this scenario, it is clear that our facilities have clear limitations with respect to the ability to serve rural communities. This is especially true where counseling might concern the elderly, the enfeebled, those without the economic means to travel outside of their respective living contexts or those with psychological conditions which discourage them from leaving the house or traveling. In such contexts, telemental health services, as Smith (2001) characterizes them, should be seen as a particularly useful strategy for improving our outreach capabilities while simultaneously reducing labor demands on our personnel. Smith endorses this claim, indicating that "the provision of mental health services in America's rural and frontier areas remains a critical health services challenge. Telemental health - the provision of mental health services from a distance, using telecommunications technologies - is increasingly helping to surmount that challenge." (p. 1)

This will be a major preoccupation of the following account, which makes as one of its primary ambitions the demonstration that our counseling group could be servicing the needs of a wider spectrum of individuals including those with severely limited mobility and those isolated to remote rural regions.

Research Questions:

This discussion is structured around a number of key research questions, the answers to which should produce a satisfactory assessment of the major sticking points in our organization's dilemma. The following research questions have been essential to driving the focus of the literature review and establishing the structure of the research proposal thereafter:

-How would the implementation of a telemental health system impact our current client base?

-For whom would the implementation of telemental health be specifically amenable either within or beyond our existing client base?

-What are the social, cultural and ethical dimensions of the present dilemma?

Literature Review:

From a business perspective, the use of telemedicine or telehealth strategies represents a great opportunity to reduce inherent operational costs and to improve the cost implications of user access to the healthcare system. The potential represented by telemedicine, still modestly unexplored, bears a great deal of undiscovered opportunity for patients in need of access to mental health attention that is quick, cost effective and reliable. By placing live counseling and pertinent psychiatric care information at the computer user's fingertips, the process of telecommunication removes many of the fundamental obstacles to receiving mental health services. Among these, telemedicine eliminates the need for and cost of transportation, significantly diminishes the amount of time required by subjects to obtain the proper attention, compensates for any shortage of labor and, ultimately, reduces many of the inherent costs to the system in an office visit.

As a result of the relative cheapness of the basic required equipment for access to online healthcare, this has been widely touted as a sensible avenue for exploration as a means to advancing opportunities for healthcare to many venues and geographic locations where such had previously been unavailable. For our considerations here, the counseling group which shares our facility will serve as a hypothetical venue where, though, it has not been traditionally present, counseling access may through online strategies become a reality. According to available preliminary research, "the adoption of PC-based desktop medical teleconferencing is tracking closely after the more widespread use of desktop videoconferencing (DVC) for business" (B2B Media, 1) As this relates to telemental health, it seems apparent that very little physical adaptation needs to be made in order to participate in a growing network of online healthcare users, providers and counselors.

The abilities which it gives therapists to connect from remote locations by way of any modestly equipped PC terminal makes telemedicine a route to the expansion or supplement of our abilities to directly address the needs of subjects requiring immediate attention. Particularly in the area of treating existing clients, all evidence available suggests the opportunity to significantly broaden and improve our service capabilities. According to Grady et al. (2009), telemental health services help to eliminate many of the limitations to mental health service access created by time and space. Also of essential importance though is the essential finding that those groups constituting the presenting problem of lacking immediate access to such services are the inherent target of most pilot videoconferencing programs. Grady reports that he goal of the telehealth provider is to eliminate disparities in patient access to quality, evidence-based, and emerging health care diagnostics and treatments." (Grady et al., 6) Indeed, this concern over disparities drives much of our research, which is concerned with uncovering the ways that telemental health strategies help to overcome the types of barriers created by ethnic isolation, racial imbalance, socioeconomic inequality or age-based limtation.

Tyson (2010) describes some of the implications of the telemental health strategy as these concern reaching greater numbers of clients without the costs or impracticalities of travel. Tyson delineates a program in which a group of elderly military veterans have gathered for the past 15 years to engage in videoconferencing with a quality mental health professional. The article reports this as "an aftercare recovery group that meets weekly. The group is a mix of Veterans based in Helena, Missoula and Great Falls, where their psychiatrist is based. Group participants meet at their local medical center or outpatient clinic and gather in a room equipped with videoconferencing technology. VA technicians and nurses are on hand locally if any problem arises with the video connection, but the session is primarily run by the therapist tuned in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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