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The Dorm, Zoom and ATA Discuss the Future of Telehealth Solutions for Mental Health Treatment

16 September 2022·5-min read

Leading treatment community hosts roundtable with industry leaders to discuss the critical role that virtual care plays in addressing today’s mental health crisis.

 The Dorm, a young adult mental health treatment community that has been supporting the needs of youth since 2009, teamed up with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. and The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) on September 13th, 2022 to discuss the future of telehealth policy solutions for mental health treatment with leading press representatives.

Coming on the heels of a public health advisory and other reports that sound the alarm about the nation’s frightening youth mental health crisis, the roundtable presentation was hosted at The Dorm’s Washington, D.C. facility at Dupont Circle as part of a hybrid viewing experience offering a bird’s-eye view of telehealth technology in a mental health treatment setting.

“The pandemic ushered in an immediate need to provide virtual mental health care,” explained John McGeehan, LCSW, CADC, The Dorm’s Founder and CEO. “In our own published COVID-19 observation study we found that in the first 8 months of the pandemic, anxiety scores were up 40% among clients, with female identifying clients 1.5x more likely to have reported a reduced quality of life. These are shocking findings. We’re here to show how telehealth has and continues to profoundly impact our population for the better.”

Roundtable panelist and The Dorm’s Partner and Chief of Clinical Services, Amanda Fialk, PhD, LCSW, LICSW shared that, as a result of virtual and now hybrid treatment options, geographic barriers to continuity of care have been removed — 20% of Dorm clients are able to maintain care with their treatment team once they graduate college or move, and family involvement in care has increased by up to 10% in the last two years with family group services up 128%. “Studies show that parent participation in adolescent treatment can be positively associated with overall wellbeing and negatively associated with suicidal thoughts and behavior,” explained Dr. Fialk. “With virtual care we are better able to serve over 1,700 family members nationwide joining us from 19 different states.” Further, Dr. Fialk shared preliminary findings from an ongoing Yale approved IRB, citing: 48% of clients in a Dorm sample felt that their clinician was more approachable in virtual sessions and 41% that they are more comfortable sharing feelings in virtual sessions. “For many clients, virtual care can serve as a powerful bridge to connection and forming a therapeutic alliance,” noted Dr. Fialk.

With mounting evidence pointing to the benefits of telemental health to patients, the panelists agreed current hybrid care policies should be kept in place. Kyle Zebley, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at The American Telemedicine Association, highlighted the continued uncertainty over the Federal Public Health Emergency Act set to expire in October, and the importance of “policy permanency” around all the flexibilities that have come about at the Federal Level such as the Ryan Haight Act in-person waiver: “As was vouched during our panel discussion (and by many other leading medical organizations), shared, Zebley, “it is possible to establish an effective provider relationship via telehealth…and when we think about the future of health, it’s going to be truly a hybrid model where patients have access to care when and where they need it.”

Ron Emerson, Global Healthcare Lead at Zoom, reinforced Zebley’s perspective, stating “the fact is,  patients like telehealth…and we are seeing a rise in digital-first models in healthcare.” According to data that Zoom collected directly from patients regarding their preferred models of care: “We did a study across ten countries with about 7,500 participants in the middle of 2021…over 60% of Americans surveyed who had a telehealth visit within the last six months actually said they wanted a hybrid model of care moving forward.”

Together, The Dorm, Zoom and the ATA agree that individuals struggling with mental health and mental illness need access to every form of impactful and effective intervention, with certainty and without barriers to access. This must include unfettered telemental health services.

To learn more about The Dorm, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. and The American Telemedicine Association visit the following links:

About The Dorm
Since 2009, The Dorm’s mission has been to guide young adults towards independence through evidence-based clinical therapies, community support and practical skill-building. As a full-service treatment community with locations in New York City, NY and Washington, D.C., they offer a unique approach to caring for young adults that is both therapeutic and holistic. This includes comprehensive day and evening services with individual and group therapy, wrap-around academic support, independent living opportunities and individualized life skills training. The Dorm’s expert therapists and practitioners support the community with tailor-made treatment plans that meet them where they are today – virtually, at home, at school, or out in the community.

About Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
Zoom is the leading platform for telehealth in the United States, providing healthcare organizations and clinicians with the ability to act as the communication and virtual care of choice for a variety of applications. In today’s dynamic healthcare system, having a multi-purpose platform for all types of communication, whether it be clinical, education or administrative, is key. Zoom’s scalable solution allows practices of all sizes to enjoy the same high-level communication and tools as the largest centers of excellence. Zoom has demonstrated its commitment to grow and innovate this technology to better serve the future of healthcare, by connecting patients with their healthcare providers across the country.

About American Telemedicine Association (ATA)
As the only organization completely focused on advancing telehealth, the American Telemedicine Association is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate care when and where they need it, enabling the system to do more good for more people. The ATA represents a broad and inclusive member network of leading healthcare delivery systems, academic institutions, technology solution providers and payers, as well as partner organizations and alliances, working to advance industry adoption of telehealth, promote responsible policy, advocate for government and market normalization, and provide education and resources to help integrate virtual care into emerging value-based delivery models.

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