Telehealth technology help patients and psychiatrists connect - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Telehealth technology help patients and psychiatrists connect

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

For some the holiday season can trigger stress, anxiety, and depression.  Iowa is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to the number of psychiatrists per population.

Over at Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center, they're using technology to help patients. It's called telehealth. They're using technology, similar to Skype or Facetime, to allow patients to see these professionals in a timely manner. 

Psychiatric Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Vicki Boling's office has an office in Waterloo, but she lives thousands of miles away.

"I'm in Hollywood, Florida," said Boling.

She says with the help of a camera, TV, computer, and a microphone, it's like she's right there with her patients.

"Sometimes people almost act like they're in confession or something. They just seem less, you know just more open to say all sorts of things," said Boling.

It allows Boling to work from home in Florida while seeing people in Iowa. It's helping people like Rosie Topping. Topping's psychiatrist moved away from Waterloo a while back. 

"And I said I don't want to change psychiatrists. I want to stick with him," said Topping. 

Iowa has a shortage of psychiatrists and to avoid people waiting six to eight months to see a professional, they're turning to technology.

"When you got people who need mental health services and they call up and you say well that's great, we can see a psychiatrist in four to six months. To me that's bad service. We're trying to address that shortage in new and innovative ways," said Tom Eachus, executive director. 

Boling she says the technology is not for everyone, but it a benefit for a lot of people.    

"As long as I can meet their needs which is diagnose, order their meds, make sure they get what they need. They don't care if I'm here , there, or whatever," said Boling.
    

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