Implementation Guide

A guide to help those interested in starting a telehealth program for their jurisdiction. Harris County's program connects a patrol deputy with a masters-level behavioral health clinician via an iPad. This is a collaborative program between law enforcement and Harris County's local mental health authority, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. Telehealth provides law enforcement in the field with quick and affordable access to a behavioral health clinician when responding to individuals in mental or behavioral health crisis.

About the Guide

A free guide for law enforcement and behavioral health organizations. Contact information is included for additional information.


Information on Harris County's pilot program. The pilot started in December 2017. It was the idea of Dr. Avrim Fishkind, the first medical director of Harris County's NeuroPsychiatric Center.

Arnold Ventures

The guide was funded by a grant from Arnold Ventures to evaluate Harris County's program. The evaluation was conducted by The University of Houston Downtown.


The guide was a collaboration between the Harris County Sheriff's Office, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, the University of Houston Downtown, and Arnold Ventures.


Programs in the following localities are included in the guide: Austin, TX; Charleston, SC; Grand Traverse County, MI; Lincoln, NE; Springfield, MO; and Upstate New York.


Data from an evaluation of Harris County's program is contained in the guide. The evaluation was conducted by the University of Houston Downtown and funded by Arnold Ventures.


Frequently Asked Questions are included. The following are examples: equipment needed, cost, Business Associates Agreements, and patient consent.

Harris County's Program

Harris County has the largest telehealth program of its type in the nation with 250 deputies with a computer tablet.



Average time of assessment in minutes

Percent of calls resolved on scene

Our Data

Data from the University of Houston Downtown's evaluation of Harris County's Clinician and Officer Remote Evaluation (CORE) Telehealth Program.

These are a sampling of the findings of the evaluation of Harris County's program by the University of Houston Downtown. The evaluation was funded by a grant from Arnold Ventures. Additional findings are included in the Implementation Guide.

The evaluation concluded the use of telehealth as a partnership between law enforcement and mental health providers can be an effective and efficient alternative for managing 911 crisis calls with a mental health or behavioral health component.

  • Would have transported without clinician - 78%
  • Clinician helped de-escalate consumer - 86%
  • Clinician helped shorten time on call - 88%
  • Clinician helped identify resources - 89%

Our long-term goal is to get 3,000 or 4,000 tablets out to every law enforcement officer in Harris County.

Wayne Young

CEO, Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

Let's Start Something new
Technology and policing