Periscope Project exceeds early enrollment goals

The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Periscope Project has enrolled 400 providers by the end of its first year, exceeding several early goals according to a recent progress report.

Periscope stands for Perinatal Specialty Consult Psychiatry Extension. It’s a program providing free support to health care providers and others working with pregnant women and postpartum women affected by mental health issues or substance abuse.

These participants can get psychiatric teleconsultations in just a few minutes after requesting assistance. They can also learn more about the particular needs of these patients, and get connected to further resources.

The progress report shows 348 requests for service were made between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, and 291 teleconsultations were performed. On the education side, 17 in-person presentations were given, reaching over 600 people.

With 400 enrolled providers, the program has exceeded goals on several fronts. Organizers were hoping to get 250 enrolled by July of this year, and had a goal of 350 by December 2019, the end of the grant funding period.

Funding for the program comes from the UnitedHealthcare Foundation, which provided $1.2 million last year.

MCW’s progress report shows that mood disorders are the most common diagnostic concern for providers calling in for assistance, with about 66 percent of related consults. That’s followed by: anxiety disorders, 32 percent; substance use, 7 percent; ADHD, 7 percent; and psychosis, 6 percent.

The report also breaks down the type of provider that received consultations. OB/GYN physicians made up 28 percent; OB/GYN midwives made up 16 percent; psychiatrists were 14 percent; family medicine physicians were 7 percent; and OB/GYN nurse practitioners made up 7 percent.

On average, requests for consultations are answered within 8 minutes, and consults take about 9 minutes.

Many participating doctors work at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, while some are at Aurora, and others are at federally qualified health centers.

Based on a three-question post-consult survey that got responses from 73 percent of participating providers, all agreed or strongly agreed they were satisfied with the service. Those who responded also said the encounter helped them manage the patient’s care, and said they plan to keep using the information they gained by using the service.

See an earlier story on Periscope:

–By Alex Moe