Using Telehealth to Remediate Rural Mental Health & Healthcare Disparities
“Deaths of despair”, deaths due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide, occur at higher rates in rural communities. The incidence of such deaths highlights underlying access and treatment disparities which result in poorer outcomes. Telehealth is a viable option for addressing rural mental healthcare needs as it enables more effective care management, provides expanded access to services, and fosters integrating primary and mental healthcare services. Implementing telemental health will involve overcoming coverage and reimbursement, licensure, broadband access and adequacy, and privacy and security barriers and advancing select policy changes. Telehealth diffusion will require changes in professional training and care delivery models.
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