Dr. Myers' research is focused on providing evidence-based mental healthcare services through telemental health (TMH). TMH utilizes new technologies to increase access to care for populations that cannot readily obtain needed services due to geography, culture or other factors such as incarceration or family distress. TMH utilizes synchronous videoconferencing with a real-time, interactive clinician who provides the same interventions that would usually be obtained in person. Over the past decade, the TMH service at Seattle Children's Hospital has provided over 5,000 TMH visits to diverse sites across the Pacific Northwest, including community mental health centers, medical clinics and other specialty sites.
Myers' current research projects include a study that uses an online gaming treatment for adolescent depression, as well as the first large randomized clinical trial of TMH funded by the National Institute of Mental Health to examine the effectiveness of TMH as a service delivery model. The Children's ADHD Telemental Health Treatment Study (CATTS) uses attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a disease model to determine whether treatment for ADHD provided by specialists at a distance through TMH can produce better care and outcomes than treatment as usual in the children's home communities.
The push toward universal healthcare coverage underscores the need for societal change in access to available evidence-based treatments. TMH can help to rectify current disparities in access to mental healthcare for the nation's children and pave the way for their future.
Kathleen M. Myers, MD, MPH, MS, is the director of the Telemental Health Service at Seattle Children's Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
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