More than 85% of nursing home residents have a diagnosable mental health care need, according to statistics shared by Encounter Telehealth owner Jen Amis. However, many of these residents fail to receive needed treatments. Reasons vary, but location, logistical challenges, and continuity of care are major factors that can limit or impede access for this underserved population, according to Amis, President and CEO of Encounter Telehealth.
Omaha-based Encounter Telehealth provides behavioral healthcare services to underserved communities and patient populations through a secure, HIPPA-compliant telehealth platform.
Encounter’s providers are all board-certified mental health specialists, including Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners and Licensed Clinic Social Workers. Specialists are located throughout the US but provide care in those states with large rural communities that have the greatest need––in the Midwest, Mountain states and New England. The company’s platform allows the provider to come directly to the patient, wherever he or she may be.
Services provided include behavioral health assessments and screenings, routine medication management, and therapy and counseling sessions. Conditions for which Encounter Telehealth providers often treat include dementia, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, PTSD, OCD, and other behavioral needs.
Encounter Telehealth assigns one provider to a patient, for the duration of the individual’s care. This is to provide consistency throughout the continuum of care. Staff at the nursing home facility assist with every appointment by reminding the patient of the appointment, helping the patient to the appointment, whether in the patient’s room or in a nearby room within the facility, logging into the system, and remaining with the patient throughout the appointment. Assisting staff can take the patients vitals which are then relayed to the provider. Family members may attend the appointment with their loved-one via the Encounter Telehealth video-conferencing system.
The remote nature of the services enables nursing home residents to remain in the comfort of familiar surroundings during the course of their care, without the concern of traveling off-site to appointments. Nursing home facilities and families can access the free-to-download platform on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Appointments are conducted weekly or monthly, depending on the need.
Jen Amis is a native of Valley, Nebraska, though she’s lived on both coasts. She has worked in various startups and started two other companies of her own. Prior to returning to Nebraska six years ago, Amis lived in Napa, California where she owned and operated a products innovation company serving the wine industry.
“I didn’t necessarily expect much of a difference between the startup worlds on the coasts and back home in Nebraska,” said Amis. “But what a difference it was––I found a community of entrepreneurs, investors and others interested in the start-up world who are genuinely interested in your success. The entrepreneurial community here is full of people who want to collaborate and make a difference, including a highly accessible investor network. Granted, I am one, but I truly love working with Midwesterners.”
Amis started ST@TIM in 2014, a telehealth service provider, shortly after relocating to Omaha. In 2015, she was a fellow through the Pipeline Entrepreneurs program based in Kansas City. Through Pipeline, she met Rod Markin, M.D., Ph.D., COO, University of Nebraska, Director, UNeTech Institute and Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Development at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Markin is also owner of Prairie Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm in Omaha.
“Rod was a ST@TIM advisor,” said Amis. “When he mentioned selling Encounter, I immediately knew that I wanted to buy the company because I so strongly believe in the mission and the service we offer. I bought it, and Rod then invested back into the company. He is now on the Encounter Telehealth Board, and I am grateful for his continued leadership and advice.”
Amis noted that the proliferation of telehealth is showing positive trends; remote patient monitoring and treatment helps reducing hospital readmissions by up to 60% by detecting complications earlier, according to Amis.
“Encounter Telehealth provides a desperately needed solution for individuals in rural and remote areas of our state who would otherwise lack access to mental health services. Telehealth is widely accepted in the health care industry as an effective way to provide these residents with greater access to medication management and behavioral health services,” said Amis.
Visit https://www.encounter.health/ to learn more about this company.