A telemedicine platform may help make significant progress for millions of patients who require mental health or substance misuse treatment since only approximately 10% of federally certified health facilities have clinical psychologists or psychiatrists on staff.

Recent research that examined some rural FQHCs found that using a tele-mental health platform, which connects the clinics to experts, benefited patients with bipolar illness or post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to a press release issued by the University of Michigan, the study findings indicate that if you provide access to high-quality treatment for disadvantaged patients, they may improve their quality of life.

Researchers from several health systems and the Veterans Affairs conducted five-year research sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to see if remote treatment had the same value for psychiatric services in 24 rural FQHCs in Washington, Michigan, and Arkansas.

The research published in JAMA Psychiatry assessed two models of care: patients directly have face-to-face encounters with specialists at the state medical school through telemedicine, and the other in which a primary care clinic that works alongside FQHCs incorporates telehealth into its services. This data suggests that a large majority of the 1,004 patients treated discovered that they had far better access to healthcare, better mental health, and better quality of life. Both groups saw the same gains.

Although research shows that telehealth may benefit patients and FQHC patients, it is essential to consider the importance of a remote telehealth platform located inside an FQHC, which mainly serves the underprivileged population.

Medicare and Medicaid data claims about 1,400 FQHCs and comparable health clinics servicing about 25 million people in the US.

FQHCs use telehealth as a means of contact with their patient while also providing virtual access to the necessary services. Telehealth has benefited from federal and state emergency measures designed to increase access, coverage, and lawmakers in both the Senate and the House have shown an interest in further implementing such policies after the crisis.