FAYETTE COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Patients now sent to the Emergency Room at Fayette Medical Center get easier access to a psychiatrist if they need one.
And people are crediting better technology for making it happen.
Fayette Medical Center is adding 6 psychiatrists to the hospital's emergency department using telemedicine.
Similar to teleconferencing, psychiatrists can talk to patients on a secure video-telephone service similar to FaceTime or Skype.
"It really ups our ability to manage cases to manage patients to provide appropriate levels of care quickly," according to Donald Jones, the administrator for the Fayette Medical Center.
The hospital had no in-house personnel who could offer psychiatric help to patients admitted to the hospital's Emergency Room.
Jones believes patients suffered as a result of that previously.
"Patients would come in and instead of having to find resources to help us, we had to just either wait till we could find a place to send the patient would just get up and leave. So that's really been a challenge," Jones added.
Psychiatrists can work with ER doctors to provide the patients medicine, referrals for follow-up, or transfer to a psychiatric facility where they can get hands-on psychiatric care.
The service is available 24 hours a day 7 a week to patients admitted to the ER at Fayette Medical Center.