Telepsychiatry Industry Leaders to Speak at American Psychiatric Association's Telepsychiatry Symposium

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Clinical and Academic Telepsychiatry Leaders are to discuss successful behavioral health telemedicine applications at APA’s upcoming telepsychiatry symposium. Dr. James R. Varrell will share his clinical and business expertise as the president and medical director of InSight Telepsychiatry, LLC.

The “Success Stories in Telepsychiatry” symposium will discuss the evolution of telepsychiatry and its many current applications ranging from early government usage in military, correctional and clinical settings

Psychiatrists from across the nation are gathering this weekend for the 165th American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting. The conference will offer opportunities for networking and education, including a symposium entitled “Success Stories in Telepsychiatry.”

The “Success Stories in Telepsychiatry” symposium will discuss the evolution of telepsychiatry and its many current applications ranging from early government usage in military and correctional settings to its current applications in academia, remote clinics, private practices and more. The symposium will cover several examples where telepsychiatry has successfully addressed gaps in care and discuss the current barriers and challenges to further the adoption of telepsychiatry. With a focus on technological advances, treatment guidelines, legal issues, documentation standards, security concerns and reimbursement problems, this symposium is slated to give attendees a comprehensive understanding of telepsychiatry.

The symposium presenters include Dr. Keith Henry Penska, Dr. Sonya Lazarevic, Dr. Janet B. Williams, Dr. Steven Hyler and Dr. James R. Varrell.

Dr. Keith Henry Penska of Washington DC will present on telepsychiatry in a military setting and its impact on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), a current medical restricting undertaking in the US military. The military has a well-developed and innovative telepsychiatry program in use, which utilizes mobile applications, smart phones and mobile teleconferencing units to connect remotely located service members, retirees and military dependents to mental health services.

Dr. Sonya Lazarevic will present on recent advances in telepsychiatry. Dr. Lazarevic will guide participants through recent APA and ATA practice guidelines, in addition to discussing barriers to increased use of telepsychiatry like legal issues, reimbursement, training and security. Dr. Lazerevic’s presentation will also look in to what telepsychiatry programs are shaping the industry and how these leaders are effecting the future direction of telepsychiatry.

Dr. Janet B. Williams will dicuss the use of telepsychiatry in clinical trials. Dr. Williams is the vice president of clinical development at MedAvante, a professor of clinical psychiatric social work in the departments of psychiatry and neurology at Columbia University College and has over 30 years of social work experience.

Dr. Steven Hyler will speak on telepsychiatry in medical settings and giving an overview of models and guidelines for primary care clinics and emergency rooms that are using telemedicine to enhance their psychiatric capacities. Dr. Hyler is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a distinguished fellow of the APA. In 2005, Dr Hyler co-published a study entitled “Can Telepsychiatry Replace In-Person Psychiatric Assessments? A Meta-Analysis and Review.”

The final speaker for the telepsychiatry symposium will be Dr. James R. Varrell the president and medical director of InSight Telepsychiatry, LLC. As an industry leader, telemedicine advocate and telepsychiatry pracitioner Dr. Varrell will discuss his business’s success stories in telepsychiatry and explain how the financial validity of telepsychiatry has aided in the spread of his practice.

Dr. Varrell preformed the nation’s first involuntary psychiatric commitment via a televideo unit in 1999. Today, Dr. Varrell still regularly preforms telepsychiatry evaluations and manages a staff of telepsychiatrists who see and treat patients in seven states. Dr. Varrell’s InSight Telepsychiatry is a dynamically expanding company that is actively recruiting psychiatrists and as they grow in to new states and markets.

InSight telepsychiatry has been particularly successful in expanding their services within the emergency realm. “Our partners realize the value of telepsychiatry to their facilities. Even though reimbursement for emergency telepsychiatry evaluations is not currently an option, the improved throughputs, appropriate care, and timely evaluation that telepsychiatry allows makes our services cost effective,” Dr. Varrell said.

Dr. Varrell’s presentation will also touch on best practice procedures for psychiatrists who are providing psychiatric treatment and care via televideoconferencing equipment. “As a provider you have to adapt your routine slightly and collaborate with the on site providers, but in my experiences, both psychiatrists and consumers quickly adjust to the different medium of care, and many even prefer it,” Dr. Varrell said.

The annual meeting is being held at the Philadelphia Conference center May 5-9. The “Success Stories in Telepsychiatry” symposium will be May 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please visit representatives of the InSight Telepsychiatry, LLC and its sister company CFG at booth #1515.

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