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Telemedicine Psychologist to Serve Local Patients

Psychologists

Clearlake, Calif.—When patients visit the St. Helena Live Well Program to meet with psychologist Michelle Pearson, PsyD, the experience is much like they would expect: a friendly welcome from the staff, a comfortable office with soft lighting and a professional therapist ready to assist them on a journey to wellness. The only difference? Dr. Pearson “sees” her patients via telemedicine, a secure videoconferencing technology that brings the specialist face-to-face with her patients through a large, flat-screen television.


Pearson’s specialty is working with patients experiencing chronic conditions. She earned her Doctor of Psychology degree from Loma Linda University. Most recently, she worked at Water’s Edge Pain Relief Institute in Yakima, Washington, working individually with patients and teaching classes on stress management, relaxation and mindfulness, distress tolerance and other cognitive behavioral skills. Her background makes her an ideal fit for the Live Well Program’s integrated approach to treating chronic conditions. 

“Dr. Pearson is a great addition to the Behavioral Health team at Live Well because of her years of experience helping patients cope with chronic pain,” explains Brent Dupper, Executive Director of Outpatient and Physician Services at St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake. “We are thrilled that telemedicine lets us bring a psychologist with her expertise and compassion to those in our community who need it most.” 

Pearson was attracted to the opportunity at the Live Well Program because of the way multiple services are integrated together in a personalized care plan built for individual patients’ unique situations. “Thankfully, patients don’t have to simply suffer with chronic conditions,” she says. “I am excited to be a part of the team working with patients who are ready to live healthier, happier lives.” 

Patients experiencing telemedicine for the first time are often surprised with the ease they feel right away. “The experience isn’t much different from when the psychologist is in the room because the provider and the patient still interact face to face,” describes Jean McNally, Care Coordinator at Live Well. “I have patients tell me that by the end of the visit they didn’t notice there was a screen involved at all—they were just grateful for the care.”

Recognizing that recruiting specialists to the region is a challenge, especially given high demand for providers nationwide, administrators at St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake saw the potential for telemedicine over five years ago. The innovative technology is also used at the hospital, where specialists and sub-specialists that aren’t often available in rural communities consult on cases in the Emergency Department and ICU. This critical expertise allows patients to receive the care they need without being transferred to another hospital.

The Live Well Program is located at the St. Helena Family Health Center – Clearlake at 15230 Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake. To schedule an appointment, call 707.995.4545.

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St. Helena Hospital is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 31,000 includes more than 22,350 employees; 4,800 medical staff physicians; and 3,850 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 275 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Adventist Health ranked #10 in Becker's list of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S. for 2015.  Visit www.sthelenahospitalclearlake.org for more information.