Nevada is expanding use of telemedicine in hopes of expanding rural residents' access to mental health care, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
In Nevada's rural counties, 27 of 100,000 residents committed suicide in 2004, far above the national average of 11 suicides per 100,000 residents. State officials cite lack of access to mental health care providers as a contributing factor.
In Nevada, providers are using a Web camera to facilitate remote consultations with psychiatrists.
Other states with large rural areas face similar challenges providing access to health care professionals, and telemedicine is an increasingly popular approach to addressing such challenges.
For example, telemedicine systems have been used in Alaska for more than 20 years, according to Ron Adler, CEO and executive director of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (O'Malley, Reno Gazette-Journal, 7/14).