State of Wisconsin Turns to Telepsychiatry Solutions for Professional Shortage Problem

The healthcare industry, similarly to other fields, has seen rapid development and growth as new technology, software, and devices make seeing, diagnosing, and treating patients easier and more efficient. One of the most successful trends that the industry is moving towards today involves telemedicine software and telehealth solutions in general. In order to keep up with increasing demand, the state of Wisconsin has recently started adopting these types of services on a broader scale, according to the Milwaukee National Public Radio station’s website.

The number of patients estimated to be using telehealth technologies in 2018 will grow to 7 million, up from 350,000 in 2013. The worldwide total revenue for telehealth services care topped $440 million in 2013 and is expected to reach $4.5 billion in 2018. Supply and demand like this is the backbone of business and in many cases the catalyst for new improvements and developments.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated last year that Wisconsin was in need of about 200 psychiatrists to meet demands. In many cases, patients in need of psychiatric services were forced to wait months — an unacceptable standard by industry professionals.

“The waiting list is getting longer and longer,” said Dr. Jon Lehrmann of the Medical College of Wisconsin. “In some areas of our state, patients have to wait three to six months to see a psychiatrist. It’s just not acceptable.”

Experts believe they can counteract this problem with the help of telepsychiatry software, which allows doctors, or in this case psychiatrists, the ability to “see” their patients virtually from hundreds of miles away through telemedicine software. It’s a setup that many patients seem to enjoy, as 5% more telepsychiatry appointments were kept in one 18-month study compared to traditional visits.

One of the things that’s helped to spur the psychiatric industry is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which has opened the door to a whole group of people who would otherwise probably not have the means necessary to get treatment.

More people trying to get services isn’t the only issue that’s caused the lines to overflow in the state. Many in the industry believe the shortage of psychiatrists stems from the fact that the retirement rate is greater than the influx of new professionals. With the massive amount of student loan debt required to achieve a medical degree, many students are opting for higher paying professions, such as doctors, physicians assistants, and surgeons, which require about the same schooling but offer more lucrative career compensation.

With more and more Baby Boomers retiring every day, the demand for these service is expected to only keep rising. Wisconsin will be a great gauge to see how well they can implement and improve on already existing telemedicine software and services.

Be on the leading edge and adopt a telemental health solution today!