The pandemic has brought about an onslaught of changes — some good and some bad. While a surge in drug-related deaths due to overdose has been a negative outcome, this has prompted some positive action in the realm of addiction treatment.
Unfortunately, the United States has had such a struggle with curtailing addiction because there is not a viable, consistent treatment to manage or prevent it. While there are residential treatment facilities and approaches such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), professionals have yet to create an intervention that is effective for each type of drug. New combinations of illicit and prescription drugs are developing each day, which makes it increasingly difficult to come up with an individualized treatment plan.
This makes the work of clinical mental health professionals more difficult, but it also means that government funding earmarked for addiction treatment is being underutilized. Without a consistent plan in place for the management of addiction, government agencies cannot take the action needed to address widespread addiction.
Fortunately, there are several telehealth companies striving to take a more modern perspective to the complex issue of addiction care. Virtual care organizations are concentrating their efforts on minimizing stigma and avoiding fragmentation of care, since these are some of the biggest roadblocks to effective, long-lasting addiction treatment.
Anonymity is another benefit that some companies may be able to provide in a virtual environment. The telemedicine model can also help patients in need of behavioral health care avoid additional barriers, including long wait times and difficulty finding specialized providers. This form of service delivery has actually shrunk wait times from four to seven days to 24 hours in some instances.
Telemedicine has offered many benefits to patients and providers alike. While some insurance companies feel that telemedicine and digital health have created more work in the form of claims reviews and regulatory hassles, it has actually been a significant advantage. With many companies struggling to keep up with member demands, insurers may find that telehealth makes them better able to manage the needs of their subscribers by building stronger networks. Behavioral healthcare provided via telemedicine allows insurers to connect their members with clinicians near and far for the purpose of receiving quality care in a timely manner.