Addiction can be an insidious and challenging thing to treat. Many addicts are hesitant to get treatment, or are unable to because of a lack of access to treatment facilities or specialists, or because of a lack of funds to pay for their treatment. However, more steps are being taken so that patients are able to use telemedicine to access effective, high-quality addiction treatments.
Telemedicine is the usage of technology to aid in the health care process. Whether it is video chats between a doctor and their patient for management of symptoms, or frequent email check-ins instead of in-person doctor’s office visits, telemedicine is helping to revolutionize the way patients communicate with their health care providers. With addiction treatment, individuals can take advantage of more personalized and frequent care from addiction specialists, physicians, and counselors to help with their ability to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Here’s a look at some ways that addiction patients can benefit from using telemedicine.
Easy access to interventional measures
One of the most important steps in the process of addiction treatment is to get the person to admit they need help. Counselors or physicians can have discussions with their patients through online video chats to help facilitate interventions and encourage the patient to seek proper treatment. Interventional measures can ensure that more patients are able to start the process of fighting their addictions, and telemedicine options make this step more convenient and simple than traditional in-person interventions.
Get help even if they live in remote areas
Many individuals who live in remote areas are unable to access appropriate help for their addictions. Telemedicine options can bring some treatment elements straight to the person’s home. This means that even patients who don’t have immediate access to top-notch treatment facilities can still access high-quality care, no matter where they’re located.
Access to addiction specialists
The recovery process for those suffering from addiction can be a challenging and arduous journey. Individuals have a better shot at maintaining sobriety if they have access to counselors or physicians who specialize in addiction treatment. With telemedicine options like video chats or email communications, patients can easily access the very best and most well-respected specialists in the field, with the hope of obtaining recovery in a more supported and guided atmosphere.
Finding online support groups or in-person meetings
Telemedicine options use technology to develop stronger and more effective recovery methods. Patients can use the internet to locate in-person meetings near them if they would like to attend support groups (like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous). If individuals are uncomfortable seeking in-person help or are unable to get transportation to a meeting, they can also use the internet to connect with online support groups. These groups can be really helpful in encouraging sober lifestyles and helping patients interact with other individuals who are having similar experiences and struggles. There are even apps patients can download on their smartphones that can assist in promoting sobriety and help track progress of the individual’s recovery.
Addicts who need help might be hesitant to seek treatment if they’re worried about friends, family, or co-workers finding out about their addiction. With telemedicine, patients can seek help from the privacy of their own homes, so they never have to worry about running into people they know when they visit a doctor or therapist’s office. This element of telemedicine is essential, because this privacy might mean that more patients can get the help they need without worrying about the stigma of being discovered seeking treatment for addiction.
More affordable addiction treatment options
Telemedicine also has the great benefit of being cheaper than most in-person doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. Virtual appointments can help the patient save money, since they don’t have to pay the same doctor’s office fees they would if they were seeing a doctor in person. Additionally, to visit an in-person specialist or counselor, individuals are often faced with paying for transportation, parking fees, etc. With telemedicine options, patients can skip extra fees and can save money instantly – which can be crucial for patients who might have limited funds during their recovery process.
Can view progress reports/updates
Telemedicine can also streamline the process of addiction treatment by allowing health care providers to connect directly with their patients – any time, any place. Providers can check in with their patients frequently to monitor progress and receive updates on how their patient is doing. This process is more convenient for both the patient and the provider, who doesn’t have to schedule in-person meetings. These check-ins can also benefit the patient’s progress by allowing them to be held accountable with frequent communication with members of their treatment team. This accountability and constant contact can result in a better shot at achieving and maintaining sobriety for the patient.
Telemedicine is changing the world of health care, and these changes are also evident in the treatment of addiction. With major benefits for both the patient and the provider, telemedicine can definitely help make the road to sobriety a smoother one.