Virtual Waiting Room Offers Same-Day Care for Patients with a Behavioral Health Condition

Samara Rosenfeld
FEBRUARY 25, 2019
telehealth, telemedicine, virtual care
Photo and thumbnail have been modified. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Today, Carolina Partners in Mental HealthCare launched a virtual waiting room for patients —an online equivalent to a walk-in clinic, according to a release.

With the platform, patients will be able to connect to a behavioral health provider on the same day without the need for an appointment.

>> WATCH: Why Are Patients Satisfied with Virtual Care Services?

The virtual waiting room is an extension of Carolina Partners’ already established telehealth program in which a patient goes to the website, registers for a telehealth appointment and gets connected to a mental health provider within 48 hours. Now, patients will have the opportunity to enter the virtual waiting room for “on-demand appointments.”

When the patients register, they will enter a queue in the order they entered the room. Once there, the patient needs to keep their device close by and stay logged in, and they will be seen by the next available provider — usually within an hour of signing in, according to Carolina Partners.

“The innovation piece of this program is that mental healthcare patients just aren’t getting seen fast enough under the old models of appointment-setting,” said Diego Garza, M.D., MPH, Carolina Partners’ director of telemedicine services.

In the fourth quarter last year, Carolina Partners added 30 new providers, but the demand for outpatient mental healthcare services is so high that it often can take weeks before a patient is seen, Jeff Williams, CEO of Carolina Partners said.

And with a shortage of mental healthcare professionals nationwide, leveraging telehealth platforms can allow more patients in crisis to be seen during an episode so they can get the support they need more quickly.

Telehealth services also give patients with a behavioral health condition the opportunity to seek an alternative treatment method.

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