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Pine Rest Improves Patient Health Using BlueJeans for Telehealth Services

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services provides addiction treatment and recovery, extensive child and adolescent programs, perinatal mood disorder treatment, senior care services, Electroconvulsive Therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy. With 19 outpatient locations serving more than 240,000 residents throughout Michigan and Iowa, Pine Rest is one of the largest behavioral health providers in the country.

Seeing a need to help people in rural areas who may not be able to get to a clinician in person, over the last few years Pine Rest has worked hard to become a cutting-edge provider testing enhanced care models such as telehealth services. In November 2018, Pine Rest was awarded $102,987 in federal funding to expand outpatient treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring conditions to adults in underserved rural areas in northern Michigan.

In part, the impetus for this funding was the widespread acknowledgement that we need to be doing more to treat preventable, life-threatening conditions—such as opioid drug addiction—than what is currently available today. 

In the United States, the opioid epidemic has spiraled to new heights over the past decade. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2017 alone, around 68% of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid—this equates to almost 130 Americans dying every day from an opioid overdose.

With expanded care options via telehealth services, Pine Rest realized it would be able to treat more people with substance abuse with the goal of reducing overdoses and saving lives.  

After receiving the funding to expand its telehealth program, the Pine Rest team involved, which was led by Telehealth Clinical Director Dr. Bruce Retterath, was tasked with launching their new program within 30 days. This involved the process of evaluating video conference providers to see which ones would meet the demands of their unique environment—including being a HIPAA compliant, secure service to safeguard patient and clinician data. They also required a service that would allow them to create a scheduling method for patients and provided clear audio and video quality. From there, they vetted patients’ ability to connect to the platform. After reviewing several options, they quickly determined BlueJeans Meetings was best suited to meet their telehealth technology needs.   

For Pine Rest, most video calling services proved difficult to integrate and complex to use. Connecting directly to patients’ homes meant safeguarding private email addresses and other sensitive information. BlueJeans does it all—while also providing the interoperability they require and delivering video, audio, and web conferencing in one single platform.

Pine Rest clinicians not only made BlueJeans part of their everyday workflow, they introduced it to patients during office visits. Using laptops or mobile devices, patients use BlueJeans to meet with clinicians. With BlueJeans, patients meet remotely in the event of long distances, bad weather, car trouble or when caring for a sick child. Likewise, clinicians can treat patients without being at the clinic. Retterath estimates 50-75 patients per week use telehealth and the number is growing. “BlueJeans makes it easy for patients to connect even when they can’t drive to the clinic,” he says.

Success of the program can already be seen. Pine Rest has been able to reduce wait times for patients looking to schedule their first appointment, as well as the physical [in-person] barriers that existed for meeting with patients. By simplifying appointments, increasing treatment options and expanding telehealth access, BlueJeans has helped Pine Rest transform their business model—something they found especially helpful when increasing when expanding from 5 to 60 clinicians.

Today, Pine Rest is able to put more emphasis on post-acute care treatment and follow-ups via live video chats in order to help more people thrive.

We’re elated to be helping Pine Rest put their video treatment therapy to better use!

Interested in learning more about using BlueJeans for Telehealth as an easy video chat option for helping patients succeed with their treatment goals, while providing the convenience clinicians desire? Check out BlueJeans for Telehealth Data Sheet and sign up for your 30-day free trial today.