Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq:PLCM), the global leader in open standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), is enabling an Arizona managed care organization to bring community-based, patient-centered care to remote and rural areas using an innovative video collaboration network, while saving millions of dollars .
Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA), a private, not-for-profit corporation designated by the state to manage publicly funded behavioral health services, contracts with more than 80 providers to manage care for 700,000 Arizonans across a sprawling, arid region that spans half the state but is home to just 11 percent of its residents. NARBHA’s network also provides behavioral healthcare services to 10 American Indian tribes. In the midst of these vast distances, NARBHA relies on a Polycom® RealPresence® video collaboration network to provide patients with personalized, face-to-face care from psychiatrists and other behavioral health professionals often in higher demand in remote and rural areas.
“Many small towns in northern Arizona are hours from the closest psychiatrist, and that effectively puts working people, children, and others beyond the reach of traditional care,” said Nancy Rowe, director of telemedicine at NARBHA. “That’s why our telemedicine network is so crucial to how we deliver services. Doctors love it because they get to live where they want, and patients love it because they can get care right in their own hometowns and not have to miss work or school to travel to get care. And the state loves it because it’s efficient – we’re not paying doctors for the hours they’d have to spend traveling, we’re paying them to provide patient services instead.”
Community-Based Care: 4 out of 5 Patients Prefer or Are Satisfied with TelemedicineWith the support of telemedicine, patients typically visit their community health center, where they participate in a video call with their remote doctor by using a Polycom RealPresence video solution. On-site clinicians assist the patient, while NARBHA telemedicine staff make the connection to a remote physician who engages via video from NARBHA’s Flagstaff headquarters, which is equipped with Polycom® HDX® series room systems, from another clinic in the region equipped with a Polycom room system, or from a home office using Polycom HDX series room systems or Polycom® RealPresence® Desktop 2.0 software on PCs. “We have psychiatrists who remotely see patients from Texas, Florida, New York, and Kentucky,” said Rowe. “This system works because it allows these small community clinics to deliver the same level of care that a clinic in Flagstaff or Phoenix does. Doctors and patients report that, after the initial session, they forget the technology is between them. The doctor is about life-size on the TV, creating a natural experience for the patient.” The quality of Polycom audio and video helps create that experience.