What Is the Role of Telemedicine in Addiction Recovery?

Doctor and patient teleconferencing

As the modern world continues to evolve, so does the manner by which you receive your medical care. Telemedicine is on the rise and its applications to a variety of health services, including addiction recovery, are substantial. There are a number of ways by which telemedicine could prove to be extremely beneficial to addiction recovery and addiction treatment for those suffering from substance use disorders across the country.

Understanding Telemedicine and Its Uses

So, what is telemedicine exactly? The United States government defines telemedicine as “two-way, real-time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site…Telemedicine is viewed as a cost-effective alternative to the more traditional face-to-face way of providing medical care.”

Telemedicine is best suited for non-traumatic or non-emergency cases and is ideal for therapeutic practices or evaluations. In particular, the mental health fields benefit immensely from telemedicine, and addiction treatment is no exception.

This is particularly important now as there is an impending shortage of qualified doctors. The Associate of American Medical Colleges estimates that, in the United States alone, there will be a shortage between sixty thousand and ninety thousand of physicians over the next ten years. The negative impact of this shortage can be lightened with telemedicine connecting exceptional healthcare providers with patients in need regardless of geographic location.

Telemedicine is being recognized as a medical asset from a legislation standpoint as well. The American Telemedicine Association reports that twenty-two states have telehealth reimbursement through insurers with others looking to follow suit. The need to provide the best level of life-saving care to those in the most need is ever-present and is supported on a large scale.

Folder labeled Health Insurance

Experts use cases for telemedicine in addiction treatment as an example of how help can be found for those battling a substance use disorder no matter where they are located or what their financial situation may be. The benefits of telemedicine and addiction treatment include increased privacy for patients, scheduling flexibility, and ease of access for patients. Before, you needed to live relatively close to or have the funds available to access the highest level of addiction rehabilitation programs. Now, you simply need a device that can connect you to the source, such as a phone or computer.

Far too often, those in need of help overcoming a substance use disorder feel an overwhelming sense of shame that may prevent them from seeking a conventional rehabilitation environment. This shame can be so intense that it could not only discourage treatment but make the substance misuse even more severe. The combination of telemedicine and addiction treatment takes away the unfounded stigma that may be associated with seeking help for substance misuse by allowing for group and individual therapy sessions to take place in the comfort of a safe environment.

Even better, quality addiction treatment can be yours no matter where you live. Many of the expert support tools that can be found through Colorado addiction treatment resources are applicable to telemedicine. As the problem with substance misuse continues to grow, the ways to combat this disease grow accordingly. There has never been a better time to get the best level of care for a substance use disorder. If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with substance misuse,  contact us today to discuss how we can help!

What Is the Role of Telemedicine in Addiction Recovery?
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