Historically, individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) have been part of a highly vulnerable community. The IDD communities have not been on the cutting edge of technology. As a result, those with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and related behavioral health conditions have difficulty getting quality psychiatry and neurology services.
Although virtual healthcare has grown significantly in the last few years, IDD providers have yet to harness its advantages fully. However, using telehealth in IDD communities has many benefits that remove barriers to accessing quality care.
Challenges Facing the IDD Community: Increased use of Dangerous Medications and Follow-up Care for Vulnerable Population.
Individuals with IDD experience a higher rate of mental health conditions and behaviors, including mood disorders such as Depression or Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Psychotic Disorders. It’s estimated that 54-60% of adult IDD patients are on one or more psychotropic medications. However, IDD patients are often misdiagnosed with mental health conditions due to misattributed symptoms and behaviors. These misdiagnoses can lead to inappropriate medication use, such as over-prescribing high-risk antipsychotics.
The healthcare system also suffers from acute IDD provider and care shortages, so it’s no wonder more digital tools, like MediTelecare’s tele-technology services, are being leveraged to extend the reach and deliver care to this underserved group.
While there has been progress in improving community healthcare delivery systems that support people with IDD, there is much more to be done for these individuals. Timely access to high-quality, comprehensive, and appropriate health care should be available to meet their individual needs while increasing independence and community participation.
5 Benefits to Telehealth Bringing Residents Closer to Quality IDD Care Providers
Delivering accessible, patient-centric, high-quality virtual care is the perfect solution for IDD patients, their families, and their facility.
Let’s look at 5 Benefits MediTelecare™ Provides to Individuals with IDD via Telehealth:
1. Access of Care
Many IDD facilities are booking six to eight weeks out for new patients or follow-up visits. With the scarcity of providers, MediTelecare’s™ technology allows clinicians to service multiple locations in multiple states to meet the care needs of the IDD community.
2. Cost Savings
Seeing patients on a virtual basis reduces costs for families and communities. These savings can include gas, time, and on-site staffing. Using MediTelecare™ for medical triage for behavior also helps reduce send-outs to hospitals, which are often costly. It’s the most streamlined way to access care with no patient disruption and significantly reduced costs for payers and communities.
MediTelecare’s™ analytics help care communities control and monitor patients who often have multiple prescriptions for psychotropic medications ( “Polypharmacy”). This governance is essential as polypharmacy’s negative consequences can include overprescribed or misused medications leading to an increased risk for adverse drug events, hospital admissions, and mortality.
4. Clinical Cloud/ HUB
Most sites struggle to keep medical records and behavioral health treatment plans organized. The MediTelecare™ clinical cloud is a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based document repository that stores patient medical notes and is accessible 24/7 to partnering clinicians and communities, enhancing visibility into a clinician’s documentation while helping to organize their behavioral health program through individual community portals.
5. Resident and Family Satisfaction
Disrupting a patient’s routine and uprooting them to a clinical environment causes unnecessary stress and anxiety. With telehealth, individuals with IDD have reduced stress because they receive care in a place familiar to them with the staff they see daily. In addition, through the MediTelecare™ digital system, family members can stay involved when they are not physically present for the appointment, leading to greater satisfaction and connectivity. The system can connect the approved family member directly to the medical consult with the treated patient.
How MediTelecare™ Can Help
IDD communities celebrate an improved quality of life through behavioral telehealthcare responsive to their unique needs and development. Both psychiatric and neurological care is essential for IDD individuals. IDD patients benefit from a psychiatric, therapy, and neurological interdisciplinary care “team approach,” as all are integrated and require an understanding of the total patient.
MediTelecare’s™ trained providers can appropriately diagnose behavioral issues and treat individuals with IDD and co-occurring mental health conditions through a patient-centered approach that uses defined clinical protocols. This ensures patients are treated with appropriate and safer medications and even non-pharmacologic options when possible, lowering the risk for adverse outcomes such as hospitalizations and medication side effects.
IDD communities are offered complete care by connecting them with uniquely qualified professionals through a digital hub. Patients are regularly seen and proactively managed with this interdisciplinary team model, all with expertise in caring for IDD needs.
The care plan can be shared with other providers (such as primary care and other specialists), giving the patient a more holistic approach to their care access. This real-time virtual collaboration simplifies access to the right provider, reduces costs for the facilities, and improves patients’ long-term clinical outcomes.
To see how MediTelecare’s™ comprehensive telehealth program can provide IDD resident patients with ongoing access to world-class clinicians in your community, reach out today!