In fact, in a recent NARBHA patient survey, just 20 percent prefer in-person consults, with four of five patients saying they either prefer telemedicine care or don’t have a preference.Patient Centered Care: Facilitating Team Treatment and Coaching Models The Polycom network also supports NARBHA’s team treatment model of care by making it easier for multiple professionals to participate in a single patient session. “In a typical scenario, the patient and therapist are together at the clinic, and the psychiatrist is on video; this helps the patient see that they have a team caring for them and helps the clinicians communicate,” Rowe said. “In another model, NARBHA clinical care coordinators will form a team to help with, for example, a child’s anger management treatment. The team might include a teacher, pastor, family friend, parent, therapist, and professionals from other organizations such as Child Protective Services. The Polycom video network lets us bring that big group together into a single session. And if everyone can’t join on video, they can participate on audio. It just makes it easy to create that team and then keep it together.” NARBHA serves a diverse client base, as shown by the fact that patient materials are published in English, Spanish, Navajo, and Hopi. This makes the lifelike quality of Polycom video and the fidelity of Polycom audio that much more important for doctors providing care to many ethnicities, cultures, languages, and accents throughout each day. “The quality of Polycom audio and video makes communicating so much easier, especially since so much of what we communicate is visual,” said Rowe. “Doctors need to see patients clearly, to pick up on their expressions and body language.” NARBHA’s network is also used to provide American Sign Language interpretation services to counseling sessions in remote towns that don’t have access to ASL interpreters.
Reducing Inpatient Stays: Saving MillionsAs one of the first behavioral healthcare agencies to implement telemedicine in the U.S., NARBHA began offering video consults in 1996 and switched to Polycom solutions in 2001. At first, the purchases were funded with grants, but as different clinics and providers saw how the telemedicine network helped them hold down costs, they began to funnel their own budgets toward video solutions. “We all get a set amount of money every year,” said Rowe. “Telemedicine helps us make the most of it.” The cost savings helps explain the state’s growing reliance on video to reach rural patients. In 2011, NARBHA administered 10,500 patient sessions over video, along with 3,826 administrative and training meetings. The state saves more than just the $475,000 a year in transportation costs and time lost to travel. In 1996, prior to implementing its collaborative video network, Arizona’s Apache County averaged 11.22 inpatient days per month per 1,000 patients. One year and hundreds of video consults later, Apache County’s average inpatient days dropped to 7.73 per thousand – a reduction of 31 percent that represents a real-world average savings of $4,070 for every 1,000 patients.* Collaboration Across State Agencies NARBHA’s network is powered by the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform – the most interoperable and comprehensive software infrastructure for universal video collaboration – in Flagstaff with redundant Polycom infrastructure in a backup data center in Phoenix. The RealPresence Platform offers support for open industry standards, which simplifies NARBHA’s regular video meetings with state agencies and other healthcare administration organizations. “They’re supposed to be failovers for one another, but we get such a high volume of calls that we often have to use both,” Rowe said. Even when traffic is at its peak, Rowe said NARBHA knows it can count on its Polycom network to deliver: “We’ve been running the same Polycom bridge every day for eight years to connect all video and voice calls. It just works.”
About PolycomPolycom is the global leader in open standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions for voice and video collaboration, trusted by more than 415,000 customers around the world. Polycom solutions are powered by the Polycom ® RealPresence ® Platform, comprehensive software infrastructure and rich APIs that interoperate with the broadest set of communication, business, mobile and cloud applications and devices to deliver secure face-to-face video collaboration in any environment. Polycom and its ecosystem of over 7,000 partners provide truly unified communications solutions that deliver the best user experience, highest multi-vendor interoperability, and lowest TCO. Visit www.polycom.com or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn how we’re pushing the greatness of human collaboration forward. About NARBHA Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA) is a non-profit managed care organization advancing integrated primary care and behavioral health services in Mohave, Yavapai, Coconino, Navajo and Apache Counties for people with behavioral health disorders. Established in 1967, NARBHA serves a 62,000-square-mile region through a network of more than 75 agencies delivering inpatient, outpatient and recovery services. Through its community reinvestment grants, NARBHA promotes its innovative incentive model that commits integrated primary care services throughout its network. Behavioral health and substance abuse services are funded through a contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services and AHCCCS. © 2013 Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved. POLYCOM®, the Polycom logo, and the names and marks associated with Polycom’s products are trademarks and/or service marks of Polycom, Inc. and are registered and/or common law marks in the United States and various other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. * Kaiser Health State Facts, average cost of inpatient day in Arizona state/local government hospital: $1,163 (2010 figures)