Background
In 1995, Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA) applied for grant funding from the Arizona Department of Health Services to develop a telemedicine network in Northern Arizona. Telemedicine was an excellent fit for Northern Arizona because of the large geographic area (62,000 square miles); sparse population; long drive times for providers, patients, and staff; and difficulty recruiting and retaining psychiatrists in the outlying, isolated small towns. Funding was approved, and by November 1996, Arizona's first interactive telemedicine network, NARBHAnet, was up and running with a videoconferencing bridge and six endpoints.

 

 

 

Since then, NARBHAnet:
  • has grown to over 90 connected endpoints (13 video rooms at HCIC’s Flagstaff headquarters).
  • has accommodated more than 190,000 clinical sessions.
  • has been recognized as a national leader in telemedicine.
  • was listed among Telemedicine and Telehealth Networks Magazine’s “Top Ten” Telemedicine Programs in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
  • was featured in a chapter of the book E-Therapy, edited by Robert C. Hsiung and published in 2002.
  • was featured in the New York Times in 2006.
  • was awarded the 2010 Excellence in Health IT Award from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Since the establishment of NARBHA's telemedicine network 20 years ago, NARBHA has assisted and collaborated with other agencies statewide to create a strong, viable, highly utilized network that:

  • provides easily accessible psychiatric care to patients in remote areas
  • allows case management and face-to-face psychiatric consultations without travel
  • disseminates formal trainings and Continuing Medical Education units to any endpoint on the network
  • allows agency and provider staff to meet without leaving their work sites


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