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InSight Celebrates 15 Years of Telepsychiatry Services

April 25, 2014 | Telepresence Options


InSight Telepsychiatry, the national leading telepsychiatry service provider, is celebrating their team's 15th anniversary of offering telepsychiatry services.

The InSight Telepsychiatry team, the national leading telepsychiatry service provider, is celebrating 15 years of practicing telepsychiatry. During that time, the company has grown from a local organization to a national healthcare network.

InSight is the telepsychiatry arm of the CFG Health Network, a broad-based healthcare provider that is dedicated to increasing access to care via innovative applications of technology. Its current leaders, Dr. Jim Varrell, MD, Medical Director and Les Paschall, CEO, established the CFG Health Network in 1997.

CFG Health Network developed their first model for crisis telepsychiatry in 1999 at South Jersey Hospital, located in rural southern New Jersey. After a sentinel event, the hospital needed access to psychiatric evaluation within an hour, but there were no psychiatrists living within that distance. Telepsychiatry was the solution. With that model of care, psychiatrists were able to use videoconferencing units and beam into the hospital ED in about an hour, an unprecedented psychiatric response time.

This initially successful program sparked a passion in InSight's leadership. "We realized that telepsychiatry was going to be the solution needed to drastically improve access to care in underserved communities," says Dr. Varrell. "Despite many obstacles, we've kept our goal to improve behavioral health care in sight as we blaze a trail for transforming care through appropriate applications of technology."

The CFG Health Network continued to expand its telepsychiatry programs and in 2008, InSight Telepsychiatry was formally established.

Since its establishment, InSight has expanded its services to include hospitals, both inpatient and in the ED, outpatient clinics including Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), correctional facilities, nursing homes, universities, residential programs, primary care centers, mobile crisis units and more.

Though InSight is now the largest telebehavioral health service provider in the nation, their leadership knows there is still work to be done.

"As leaders in this field, it is our job to advocate for safe practice and high quality care through telepsychiatry and telemedicine," says Executive Director Geoffrey Boyce.

InSight is an active advocate for telebehavioral health. Members of the InSight team have presented on telepsychiatry at the American Psychiatric Association, the American Telemedicine Association, the National Rural Health Association, numerous grand rounds presentations and many other regional and state conferences and events.

"Conversations about telemedicine often get bogged down in discussions of why this form of care may be difficult," says Geoffrey Boyce. "I love to get up in front of a room and share InSight's experiences as a provider network that has successfully made this form of care work."

InSight has a history of working cooperatively with insurance companies and legislative bodies to make telepsychiatry services increasingly accessible to more consumers. While telemedicine services are covered by Medicare and private payers in some states, many still have restrictive regulations that limit services to certain areas, or to certain circumstances. InSight has worked with public officials and the divisions of mental health and departments of human services in multiple states to design and implement policies that are conducive to telemedicine.

"We have learned a number of lessons about how to do this appropriately in the past 15 years. But there is always more to know," says CEO Les Paschall. "It's been a pleasure and a challenge to be pioneers in the telebehavioral health industry."

2014 is a big year for InSight as they explore new ways to transform access to care. In early 2014, InSight launched Inpathy, their new online behavioral health platform.

Inpathy is an online tool for connecting remote providers to behavioral health consumers using standard computers. Inpathy was designed so that consumers could easily and affordably connect to behavioral health providers through a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform.

With the nationwide shortage of behavioral health providers, Inpathy opens doors for behavioral health services in a convenient and modern way. According to Paschall, "Inpathy is a game changer for telebehavioral health."

In honor of their 15-year anniversary, InSight will release a series of free telehealth white papers that share lessons learned as telebehavioral health pioneers. Their first white papers "15 Lessons for Establishing a Successful Telebehavioral Health Program," "Reasons to Practice via Telepsychiatry," "15 Places Telebehavioral Health Is Transforming Access To Care" and "Making Telebehavioral Health More Accessible: What Needs to Happen" are available on InSight's website.

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