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Health care app helps behavioral health patients get treatment more quickly

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Finding the right medical care for behavioral health patients in our area is now easier and faster.

To help respond to the behavioral health crisis, the Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral and Developmental Health partnered with XFERALL (pronounced trasnfer-all), an app that finds where a patient can get treated immediately.

For example, if a hospital called the Texas Panhandle Centers (TPC) requesting an assessment on a patient and that individual in fact needed psychiatric help, the TPC would then send an alert through the app and if a participating facility can take the patient, they can accept the request and the transfer begins.

“Before XFERRAL we had to know who to call, their bed availability,” said David Bustos, mobile crisis outreach supervisor for TPC. “With XFERALL we can ship it to different facilities.”

Because the app finds where a patient can get treated without the need of phone calls, fax or any other manual labor, transfer times have reduced from two hours back in 2019 to an hour and 18 minutes this year.

According to XFERALL, nationally, the average time to place a patient in an appropriate psychiatric facility is conservatively estimated at at least eight hours, which makes the Panhandle region’s achievement of less than 90 minutes even more remarkable.

“It also provides real time data analytics,” said Shana Palmieri, chief clinical officer for XFERRAL. “They can go in and they can get information on how quickly it took for their patients to get transferred, how quickly they were responded to, where they went so, in hindsight, we’re able to use that data with each of the hospitals as a region and look at where do we have deficiencies and how can we make improvements.”

This technology allows Texas Panhandle Centers to start a case and links up everyone who is part of that patient’s care so, the sending hospital, the receiving hospitals and the crisis team.

They can all communicate and get alerts back and forth on the app on the status of that patient’s transfer.

According to XFERALL, this year in the Texas Panhandle, more than a thousand patients have been transferred to care using their app.

One challenge these entities have faced so far is placing children.

“Beds for them are limited,” said Bustos. “The pavilion takes everyone here and rural area so when we don’t have a bed for them, finding a facility that can house them can be difficult.”

XFERALL not only provides support to individuals in medical settings, for the last month it has been helping the Randall County Jail provide care to inmates at risk.

“Those who are incarcerated and have a severe mental health issue going on and can be a danger to themselves and others, instead of being released into the community and be a risk, and potentially coming back to jail, “ said Taylor Cowell, case manager for TPC. “XFERALL allow us to pretty quickly get these guys and girls connected with an in-patient hospitalization and so instead of getting released to the community, we take them straight from jail to an in-patient hospital.”

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