Reimagining Care: Heidi Christianson, PhD, MS

Heidi Christianson, PhD, MS

Psychological health care hasn't taken a break during times of crisis, but it has changed form. As a health psychologist with the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), I work in a multidisciplinary cancer clinic. However, when Wisconsin implemented the Safer at Home order, it challenged us to consider how we could continue to provide psychological services to patients who are often immunocompromised.

We pivoted to a virtual care platform in about a week. Now I see patients from a private office in my home while they are in a private space in their home. Although I prefer to see patients in person, I have noticed that connecting via a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform has allowed me to be there for patients without exposing them to undue risk.

I also run a training program for health psychology residents. We moved the training program to a virtual platform and at the same time expanded service to provide psychological health resources to medical trainees and frontline employees across the Froedtert & MCW health network. The psychological fallout from this situation is real and challenging for many. We have changed our services during these times so that we can be here for everyone virtually to help them adjust and cope.

I look forward to being in my clinic again, but in the meantime, I'm grateful to be able to connect with my patients, create virtual programs and help people through these trying times.

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