In March 2020, a team at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital converted intensive outpatient psychotherapy to a telehealth system by adopting technology to effectively serve two adolescent treatment programs.
Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
- Academic Hospital
- Virtual meeting platform
Team Members Involved
Intervention: The intervention consisted of pre-COVID technology infrastructures such as Epic MyChart Messaging, telephone communications, and Epic MyChart Video. The team also adopted a Zoom platform to perform rounds and group psychotherapy. The team selected Zoom since the platform provided the hospital with the highest standard encryption for its account and was easily accessible. The team found that Zoom’s breakout rooms served as a useful feature for making simple transitions between different telehealth services.
Process: The team used four primary methods for telemedicine. MyChart Secure Messaging served as a portal for adolescent patients to complete intakes, schedule individual appointments, and access links to their group meetings. Individual and family psychotherapy operated through Epic MyChart Video. In case patients could not access technology or otherwise needed in-person examination, the team still offered in-person care after an initial screen. Telephone usage remained a foundation for communication. The team was able to transition four, three-hour group therapy sessions successfully to Zoom so patients could continue to receive intensive outpatient care.
Lessons: This intervention was rapidly deployed within the span of a few days, allowing staff to work remotely and provide care for high-risk adolescent individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yale team was able to leverage existing technologies and implement new technology (Zoom) to transition patient care to telehealth with no lapses in care. The intervention is ongoing.
Childs, A. W., Unger, A., & Li, L. (2020). Rapid design and deployment of intensive outpatient, group-based psychiatric care using telehealth during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 27(9), 1420-1424.