The majority of individuals with OUD (OUD) face access barriers to evidence-based treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic offered an opportunity to tackle OUD treatment accessibility issues by expanding the use of telehealth. However, it is unclear if this method can remove the barriers or worsen existing treatment inequities.
A study of Philadelphia staff who deal with patients with marginalized status in low-barrier treatment programs has shown that telehealth can be used to aid in treatment for OUD. Staff and prescribers involved in the study found that telehealth has decreased barriers to treatment. However, they also acknowledged that the digital divide still hinders the efficacy of this technology and their fears that telehealth visits may not be as effective as in-person treatments for patients who are struggling to get treatment.
Telehealth may address many accessibility issues. There are still obstacles to its implementation like access to patients and willingness to attend appointments online. Furthermore the possibility of telehealth models to extend OUD care to patients not being served by in-person models could partially depend on the ease of clinicians treating patients deemed unstable via this modality.”
Shoshana V. Aronowitz, PhD, MSHP FNP-BC, Lead Investigator and Assistant Professor in Penn Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health
The findings of the study have been published in an article “Telehealth for Opioid Treatment of Use Disorders in Low-Barrier Clinics: An Exploration of Staff and Clinician Perspectives” in Harm Reduction Journal.
Aronowitz S.V., and others. (2021). Telehealth for opioid addiction disorder treatment in low-barrier hospital settings: an examination of clinicians’ and staff perspectives. Harm Reduction Journal. doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00572-7.
Content Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211206/Study-highlights-how-telehealth-can-facilitate-treatment-for-people-with-opioid-use-disorder.aspx