North Carolina expands use of video conferencing technology

Tuesday, August 20 2013

North Carolina recently updated its regulations to allow medical professionals and counselors to conduct evaluations of people going through mental breakdowns and drug overdoses via video conferencing technology. The Associated Press reports that Gov. Pat McCrory announced the initiative at East Carolina University.

The state legislature has already allocated $4 million to the program over the next two years. The objective is to increase the availability of psychiatric services to residents in the rural portions of North Carolina. Government officials hope to create a network that allows doctors to see and hear patients in remote locations to make proper diagnoses.

The digital system will hopefully reduce the number of psychiatric patients who go to emergency rooms for treatment. Dr. Kaye McGinty, a child psychiatrist at ECU, explained that this is an ongoing issue.

"There's a serious problem throughout the nation with many psychiatric patients showing up in emergency rooms because they either don't have access to outpatient care or they're in crisis," McGinty said.

Video conferencing software will help health care providers communicate with their patients and understand what issues are affecting them. This may be the best solution for improving psychiatric care and prevent overcrowding in hospitals.