Normally access to emotional or psychological resources is limited in places such as Fort Cobb, Tipton and Grandfield, said David Howlett, director of behavioral health and special projects.
Even if networks have the mental health professionals necessary to offer treatment, it's often simply impossible to get them across the state to where they're needed.
But setting up a videoconference between counselor and patient is another matter, Howlett
"It's a different modality of treatment that's possible with technology, a way to connect services to a population that's traditionally been difficult to reach," he
said Variety Care's
telepsychology services are secure and confidential, piggybacking on an encrypted network through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health
and Substance Abuse.
A majority of patients using the conferencing services are indigent patients who have psychological issues that contribute to their health problems, Howlett
Although the services are not new to Variety Care
, the conference program now allows access to behavioral health specialists more frequently and immediately.
said Variety Care's growth plan includes several other communities beyond the three mentioned previously, such as Thomas in rural western Oklahoma.
said the organization also is considering making the services available to providers in the metro area as well, to help improve the overall efficiency of caregiver distribution around the clock.