Child Psychiatry by Telehealth
Taranaki DHB is using telehealth to reduce patient waiting times and increase accessibility to psychiartists.
Yariv Doron a child psychiatrist in Taranaki introduced virtual appointments and direct email access for patients in mid-2019 and now delivers nearly 20 per cent of his appointments via telehealth.
Doron utalises the Zoom platform and can link from New Plymouth to a dedicated video conference link at Hawera Hospital, saving him a 3-hour round trip in the car. He also provides video links directly to patients throughout the region, something especially useful for young clients who live rurally. The telehealth sessions have the added benefit of including parents or family members that live far apart, as all family members can be involved in a session using technology.
As his clients are young, he says the idea of meeting virtually was a “no brainer” to them and within weeks up to 20 per cent took up the opportunity. “I'm ‘seeing clients’ far more frequently and I’m responding in real time to things that have happened. With telehealth we’ve reduced wait times, increased accessibility and I can cope with the numbers. It's been phenomenal.”
Taranaki DHB’s clinical information reference group is now looking at how to expand telehealth to other services, using child psychiatry as an exemplar.