Updated: Oct 1
To ensure the continued expansion of telemedicine for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, University of Pittsburgh's Dr. Coleman Drake identified the following steps in his article published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine:
Invest in infrastructure to establish access to telehealth, particularly in rural and urban communities. Dr. Drake reported that transition to 5G cellular networks, among other solutions, will improve the quality of digital care to patients.
Support providers in adopting telehealth for SUD treatment by investing in public health models that help providers acquire telehealth technologies and teach them how to deliver services through telehealth.
Help patients purchase hardware necessary to receive telehealth, in addition to offering support in accessing the services. Dr. Drake reported that this ameliorates the issue of patients not having the digital literacy needed to engage in telemedicine, as well as not having technology or data plans required to use telemedicine options.
Advocate for permanent telehealth expansion across the nation. The article stated that COVID-19 has prompted the expansion of SUD treatment availability through the adoption of telehealth. According to Dr. Drake, making the expansions permanent would improve the field.