The lack of healthcare access for people who are low-income or in areas where access is less available presents significant health challenges. Not everyone can get to a treatment center and it presents challenges to supporting recovery. Learning how to transform medicine to support people with addiction may include telemedicine, depending on how it is provided.
Tech Access Benefits
One of the greatest benefits of being alive today is access to medicine in modern ways. With the internet and phones available in the palm of our hands, telemedicine presents a real opportunity and realistic solution to an overburdened healthcare system. We need to learn how it works, understand its impact, and know the challenges before jumping in to assume it will actually benefit people with addiction.
How Telemedicine Works
Telemedicine works by starting a video call between doctor and patient. That is not the only thing that it requires because both patient and physician must go through several steps for standardized care to be delivered. Before meeting, scheduling and transfer of records is necessary. No appointment can be carried out without having prior knowledge about personal history. During the appointment, the doctor must observe everything in accordance with HIPPA.
Impact for Addiction
Effective addiction treatment via telemedicine requires attendance at a rehab center for detox, therapy, and extended care. Many people, including families, are naturally unsure how to approach this with loved ones. In telemedicine, people can attend rehab sessions virtually and take part in support groups and other community meetings from the comfort of home. This reduces the burden on the system and ensures participation from everyone in need of rehab. Telemedicine also increases retention of people needing extended care. Areas in which people excel in addiction treatment includes privacy, scheduling flexibility, and access to treatment by nearly everyone. As people try to rebuild their lives, a lack of flexibility in scheduling may force them to choose between other commitments like work but with remote care it can be scheduled so people don’t miss appointments due to lack of transportation or ability to get there.
Efficacy and Challenges
In spite of many benefits, there are shortcomings and challenges. Among these include:
- Depersonalized environment
- Less emphasis on person-to-person interaction and communication that happens in an office
- Less likely to open up online
- Non-verbal cues are missed
- Disruptions for the environment
- Data privacy and security
There are myriad challenges to telemedicine for people in need of addiction treatment. For instance, there is no way a person with addiction can heal without a holistic approach. Telemedicine may be one way to tap into people’s lives for support but they still need to go pick up prescriptions, meet with doctors for certain things and access care. The reality may be further away for people than we think to go completely digital for care. However, with the right holistic approach, it may be one tool in the toolbox to support individuals struggling with addiction find hope and healing.
The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. By utilizing a set of diverse methods of addiction treatment, we are able to deal with your addiction from all angles and concentrate on every aspect of your healing process. It is important to recognize that many of our services offer a group setting and environment, so that the client spends time with other people affected by the same chronic disease and problems. 432-620-0255