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Periscope Project Update

Tuesday, July 16, 2019  
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The Periscope Project (TPP) is celebrating two years as a perinatal psychiatric teleconsultation program housed within Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. The program builds capacity in health care professionals to address the mental health needs of their existing perinatal patients through teleconsultation, education, and access to community resource information. Over the first two years of operation, TPP provided 737 perinatal psychiatric teleconsultations, offered information on supportive resources 295 times, and taught 153 educational sessions. A post-encounter survey with a 69% response rate demonstrated 100% of utilizers were satisfied with the service they received and indicated they would apply the information learned in the future care of other patients.

Any health care provider caring for perinatal patients can call between 8am and 4pm CST to receive resource information or to consult with a subspecialty psychiatrist within 30 minutes. The calls are answered by a coordinator who to collects basic information and provides resources. A perinatal psychiatrist is then notified of the request. On average, the perinatal psychiatrist returned the call in 6 minutes. This rapid response allows the opportunity to discuss the case with a sub-specialist before presenting treatment options to their patient.

The majority (56%) of requests came from obstetric practices followed by psychiatry and behavioral health settings making up 26% of requests. 18% of all requests were specifically from psychiatrists signifying the need for perinatal sub-specialty resources within the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists and psychiatric providers differed slightly from obstetric providers in their use of the service. Psychiatric utilizers were more likely to request community resource information, including peer support groups, sub-specialty psychotherapy services, and family support programs. The consultation requests from psychiatrists tended to be more complex than those from other provider types.

To learn about The Periscope Project, go to the-periscope-project.org or read their recently published article: Wichman C, Laszewski A, Doering JJ, Borchardt, S. “Feasibility of model adaptations and implementation of a perinatal psychiatric teleconsultation program.” Gen Hosp Psychiatry, 2019; 59:51-57.