Asurvey of more than 1,000 registered physicians who used telehealth services to treat patients with opioid-use disorder during COVID-19 found that an overwhelming majority favor making telehealth a permanent part of their practice.
Yale School of Public Health – The findings of the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) study provide new support for the use of telehealth technology in treating opioid-use disorder. Policymakers currently are debating whether existing regulations allowing for telehealth during the COVID pandemic should be extended temporarily as the pandemic wears on — or made a permanent part of treatment practice options.
“Recent exposure to telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic has promoted the perspective among the physicians surveyed that it is a viable and effective treatment option for patients,” said the study’s lead author Tamara Beetham, MPH, a PhD student in health policy and management at YSPH. “Findings like these could have major implications for the future of telehealth regulation. Continued flexibility would allow more individuals to access life-saving treatment.”
A staggering 107,622 people in the U.S. died of drug overdose in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physicians frequently prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid-use disorder and reduce the risk of overdose. Patients must regularly follow up with their provider as part of their treatment.