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Store-and-Forward Telemedicine Eyed for Mental Health Care

As of September 2008, 77 million residents lived in the country’s 3,059 mental health professional shortage areas, or HPSAs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The foundation reported that it would take an additional 5,145 mental health care providers to meet a population to practitioner ratio of 10,000 to 1. Telemedicine often is cited as a potential solution to the country’s mental health provider shortage. However, synchronous telemedicine — which involves live, two-way interactive video — presents its own scheduling and technological challenges.