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Technology to Increase Access to Health Care Providers

Increasingly the field of medicine is looking to technology to increase access to health care providers.  But first, is it effective?

Dawn Ehde, Phd and colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle reviewed their experience of a telephone based intervention on being able to reduce MS symptoms. Clinical psychologists or social workers provided counseling through eight phone calls to a group of people living with MS targeting the symptoms of fatigue, pain and depression. The telephone intervention reduced symptoms by more than 50%.  (http://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(15)00647-4/abstract)

Increasing access to counseling for people living with MS who are experiencing depression has been a long-standing interest of mine. In 2006, in collaboration with Dr’s Stepleman and Shelton, I presented our work on overcoming mental health care barriers for people living with MS at the European Committee Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis Meeting (also known as ECTRIMS) in Spain.

In developing the care options for Premier Neurology, one of the first relationships I established was with North Main Counseling. They have agreed to prioritize our patients – both by committing to calling our patients to schedule an appointment within 24 hours of receiving the referral  phone call after they receive the referral AND by offering the option of telemedicine visits done through a HIPAA compliant connection that is similar to a Skype interaction.

90 % of all communication is nonverbal. I suspect this is one of the reasons that apps like Skype and FaceTime have become so popular. I certainly have found it much more enjoyable to watch my son’s basketball games by Skype rather than hearing a play by play commentary when I have been unable to attend in person!

I look forward to hearing your feedback on the concept! Changing how we deliver healthcare keeping the patient at the focus. Innovation is the key!

Click here for Dr. Ehde’s full article

Stepleman, L. M., Shelton, S.,  Hughes, M. “Overcoming Mental Health Care Barriers for Individuals with MS: Innovations in Psychological Consultation.” 22nd Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, Madrid, Spain. September 2006.


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North Main Counseling | Greenville, SC


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