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27
JUN
2017

For Mental Health Care, Telemedicine Shows Promise. But It’s Easier Said Than Done

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-The Post and Courier

For three hours every week, a psychiatrist sees low-income, often uninsured patients at Volunteers in Medicine on Hilton Head Island. Yet it’s not enough.

The clinic, which relies on volunteers and schedules more than 30,000 visits per year, has had to stop scheduling new consultations.

Doug Wolter, a clinical psychologist and director of the clinic’s mental health services, said Volunteers in Medicine has been overwhelmed with the number of patients who need this treatment.

So a partnership was built with the Medical University of South Carolina to allow Charleston psychiatrists to see the clinic’s patients via telecommunication. Wolter said for these patients, telemedicine could make a significant difference in their mental health care.

“It could be of a tremendous benefit to some rural areas where there is not access to medical specialists,” he said.

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