What is Telehealth Treatment?
Telehealth treatment is the use of technology to attend and keep up with your health care services and addiction treatment programs. Different aspects of technology that people use in a telehealth program include:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Video chats
- Video conference calls
- Portals and logs
- Audio chats/phone conference calls
- Mobile apps
Benefits of a Telehealth Program for Substance Abuse Specialists
Advances Care Business Models of Medical Professionals
Specialists for substance abuse and mental health treatment can capitalize on the use of telehealth treatment by offering their services online and building their own private clientele. By doing this, substance abuse specialists can build a brand outside of their companies’ offices. They can also extend their hours of work and create newer and more efficient business models for their private customers.
Increased Level of Engagement With Patients
Having constant communication with their patients through technology allows substance abuse specialists to check in with their patients in between their treatment sessions. This will also increase the patients’ chances of maintaining a healthy routine in their day-to-day lives when in between sessions. On top of allowing substance abuse specialists to engage with their patients more, telehealth will allow these specialists to do so inexpensively.
Telehealth is a great resource for substance abuse specialists to use to monitor their patients’ habits. Having continual communication with patients through telehealth access allows substance abuse specialists to gain more accurate metrics on their patients’ habits. Not only this, but telehealth also allows substance abuse specialists to increase their level of monitoring without accruing more costs.
Increased Level of Reach For Medical Professionals
Through a telehealth program, substance abuse specialists can expand the number of people to whom they can give care. For example, a specialist can provide care for someone who lives far away in another city that would not have seeked treatment from him or her prior due to where that person lives.
Better Workflow and Efficiency
Different forms of technology that are used for telehealth treatment can help record and store patient data. By increasing the amount of pertinent patient data a company has, that company can help substance abuse specialists come up with efficient ways to improve patient performance and satisfaction.
By having the ability to bill patients for uncompensated phone calls and extend service hours, substance abuse specialists can increase their patient list and overall income.
Less Patients That Do Not Show Up
When treatment sessions are through technology, there is little to no excuse for not showing up to your appointment. Thus, telehealth helps substance abuse specialists maintain their patients.
Benefits of Telehealth for Patients in Addiction Recovery
Cuts Patient Costs
Throughout the process of receiving addiction treatment, addicts spend a large amount of money. This money is spent on things like searching for treatment, putting gas in their cars so that they can go to and from treatment, childcare, the need to take time off work, the hospital systems, and more. By receiving treatment in the comfort of their own homes, patients save money on travel, parking, childcare, and hospital bills.
Reduced Overhead Costs
The costs of telehealth visits and technology systems are much less than that of regular treatment visits and hospital systems. While regular substance abuse treatment programs can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, telehealth treatments only cost around $79 a session. In fact, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), patients of telehealth treatments save $86.64 every time they go to a treatment appointment.
Improved Healthcare Quality
A telehealth program improves healthcare quality for patients of addiction treatment by utilizing technology to deliver their service quicker. Telehealth also improves healthcare quality by allowing substance abuse specialists to better manage their time so that they can better treat people with acute addiction issues.
Even the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), states that telehealth improves patient healthcare quality. This is particularly true in rural areas where there is not as much access to high quality treatment facilities.
Improved Patient Satisfaction
Studies show that patients that go to a telehealth program are just as, if not more, satisfied as those of traditional in-person substance abuse treatment programs. For example, the telehealth treatment service OrthoLive has a 87% patient satisfaction rate. Also, the CVS Minute Clinics telehealth program has a 99% patient satisfaction rate.
Ways Online Rehab Benefits Addiction Treatment
One key way that online rehab can improve addiction treatment is that it allows more flexibility on both the substance abuse specialists and the patients. With this flexibility, you have more time options for when you can give and receive treatment. You also will have more location options for where you can give and receive treatment.
Minimizes Negative Stigma
Many people do not receive the rehab treatment that they need so that no one sees or hears about it. This is because there is a negative stigma of laziness, irresponsibility, and instability that comes with having an addiction.
With online rehab, people do not have to fear being seen or heard receiving addiction treatment. They can do so in the privacy of their own homes.
Many rural areas do not have rehab facilities near them. As a result, many people who need to go to rehab in these areas do not bother going. With online rehab, people can receive treatment from a facility regardless of how far away they live from it.
Access to Complimentary Online Tools
A telehealth program should essentially be the same as its corresponding in-person rehab program, just with more tech-savvy tools. For example, patients of online rehab can utilize online patient portals to communicate with their doctors, nurses, and therapists.
Patients can also use online portals to request prescription refills, review their tests and records, and schedule appointments. While all these actions are things that you can do in-person at a facility, the tools provided by online rehab makes performing such actions easier.
Another example of utilizing online tools through online rehab is using mobile apps and devices to help specialists check in on and monitor their patients. Through such mobile devices, substance abuse specialists can even stage a patient intervention in-between sessions if necessary.
Treatment facilities with online rehab can also utilize computer tools to have online charts on the actions and behaviors of patients. That way both the substance abuse specialists and the patients can have a more accurate idea of where the patients stand in their rehab journey.
Another benefit online rehab has on addiction treatment is the ability to get medicine to patients quickly in case of an emergency. This is a great telehealth tool because many people in recovery experience chronic withdrawal symptoms that could lead them to needing medication at any given time.
Benefits of Telehealth Treatment During a Pandemic
During a pandemic, many people are hesitant to interact with other people at a treatment facility. That is why a telehealth program is so vital during such a time.
If you are a substance abuse specialist, you will benefit from your facility having telehealth treatment services during a pandemic by not having to lose your job, hours of work, and/or money. On the flip side, patients will benefit from having telehealth programs options during a pandemic by not having to put them and their families at risk by interacting with new people. Not only this, but having telehealth treatment makes it so that you don’t have to postpone receiving treatment just so that you don’t get sick.
How Telehealth Can Help With the Drug Crisis in America
More than 2 million Americans depend on or abuse opioids. Add this to the millions of Americans who abuse other substances like alcohol or illegal drugs, and America has a huge drug crisis on its hands.
To counteract this drug crisis, private and government-owned addiction recovery and treatment clinics are being placed all across the country. To help get more addiction treatment options to Americans at a quicker speed, telehealth is the perfect service to use.
Congressional Bills That Support Telehealth Program Use for Addiction Treatment
Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018
This bill gave the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration the power to allow qualified healthcare providers to give controlled substances to people via telemedicine.
Medicaid Substance Use Disorder Treatment via Telehealth Act
This bill requires the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary to take the lead on figuring out how state Medicaid programs can get reimbursed for substance abuse disorder treatment through telehealth.
Telehealth for Children’s Access to Services and Treatment (TeleCAST) Act
This requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to analyze Medicaid treatment programs for children with substance abuse disorders. This bill also requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to report on ways that more children in need of treatment can receive Medicaid.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Programs Enhancement Act
The HHS Secretary must provide data on the number of people under Medicaid that are receiving substance abuse addiction treatment. Under this bill, it’s also the HHS Secretary’s responsibility to report on how many Medicaid services are there in place for people to receive substance abuse addiction treatment.
Access to Telehealth Program Services for Opioid Abuse Disorders Act
This bill waives specific Medicaid telehealth requirements when it comes to opioid abuse disorder or co-occurring mental health disorders.
Try One of the Many Addiction Treatment Services at Harmony Ridge Recovery Center
Harmony Ridge Recovery Center provides individualized, evidence-based addiction treatment to all our patients. Whether that means utilizing some online services or attending one of our many detox and treatment programs in person, we are here to help you.
To learn more about Harmony Ridge and the services that we provide, contact us today.