Telemedicine and the Opioid Crisis

By October 15, 2018Uncategorized

Visit any mainstream news website and you’re likely to see an article about the opioid crisis. More than 130 people die every day from an overdose. As a public health crisis, opioid misuse and addiction has devastating consequences, such as neonatal abstinence syndrome to the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV.

As the epidemic worsens, addiction treatment costs have risen. Treating addiction means treating both its mental and physical impact and often involves admission into a detox or rehab facility. Other addicts are reluctant to check into a facility and believe they can fight their dependence on their own.

Now telemedicine is rising as an effective treatment option that reaches more addicts while saving time and resources:

  • Instead of in-person visits with attending physicians, sessions with mental health experts and diagnostic tests, healthcare providers are using
  • virtually visiting patients in treatment facilities and holding group sessions through video conferencing.
  • Patients who have been released from treatment, or are still waiting for a facility bed, can receive counseling and monitoring in their home environment.
  • Providers can diagnose conditions using advanced telemedicine t
  • On-site treatment professionals can collaborate with the patient’s other providers, social service workers and caregivers for a more complete picture of the patient’s care needs.

The end result is faster and most cost-effective telemedicine addiction treatment that’s personalized and consistent. Treatment facilities, patients and physicians can also schedule diagnostic, consulting and treatment sessions during hours that are convenient for everyone involved.

Lawmakers Urge Telemedicine Usage to Fight Opioid Crisis

To combat the narcotics crisis, members of Congress have urged other government officials to fast-track telemedicine use in addiction treatment. The primary reason is to provide underserved and rural communities with addiction treatment and recovery options. Often the nearest addiction treatment centers are hours away from remote communities.

Multiple bills have been introduced in the House to address this concern and urge for the special recognition of telemedicine providers to diagnose and prescribe medicines designed to treat addiction. These special regulations would allow healthcare providers to assess needs using telehealth technologies and offer treatment options to patients who would otherwise not receive a thorough exam and diagnosis.

Telemedicine and Ongoing Treatment
Treating opioid addiction is never a one-time service. Ongoing support after the initial diagnosis and treatment is required to avoid relapse. Telehealth technologies can provide patients with this ongoing support, while helping treatment professionals monitor any behavioral changes. Providers can suggest behavioral corrections or medication changes to combat future negative behaviors, impulses or cravings.

As both healthcare and the government address the opioid crisis, telemedicine is getting more attention as a promising treatment option. GlobalMed looks forward to playing a valuable role in the fight against addiction through innovative telemedicine solutions.

To find out how we can assist the behavioral health and addiction fields, just schedule a demo and get the details on how our industry-leading solutions are paving the way for happier futures.

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