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Is Remote Addiction Treatment The Way Of The Future?

remote detox doctor

Until recently, a remote detox doctor was difficult to come by. Now, remote doctors are the norm and a growing number of patients and healthcare professionals are learning the value of virtual treatment. In fact, many believe telemedicine benefits are strong enough to outlast the pandemic. Will remote detox doctors stay at large?

All signs point to yes. Learn more below.

The Law Is On Their Side

Before COVID-19, there were laws limiting the scope of virtual treatment and limiting the things a remote detox doctor could do. For example, about one in 10 to one in five people seeking alcohol treatment need medication to successfully complete the detoxification process. In order to prescribe that medication, regulations required doctors to meet in-person with patients at least once before transitioning to partially or fully remote treatment. Those regulations were temporarily suspended thanks to COVID-19 and, now, U.S. senators are pushing to permanently get rid of them.

According to The Dayton Daily News, the Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act “would extend telehealth flexibility by making permanent waivers, including the ability to provide medication-assisted treatment and other necessary prescriptions, without needing a prior in-person visit.” The Kennedy Forum, the American College of Medical Toxicology, the American Society for Addiction Medicine, the National Safety Council, and more, all support the new legislation proposed on June 30.

Telemedicine Draws More People Than In-Person Treatment

Studies show that people are turning up for virtual treatment in unparalleled numbers — numbers that definitely rival the popularity of in-person treatment programs. In Dayton, OH, for example, attendance jumped up by 90% when counselors began using telehealth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Before taking full advantage of telemedicine, those therapists averaged a show rate of just 40%. With the added convenience of remote treatment, healthcare professionals nationwide also expect to see this uptick in those seeking and following through with treatment.

Of course, these increased numbers beg the question: Are patients seeing remote detox doctors and receiving telehealth addiction treatment successful? The answer is yes. In fact, in a study by Yale, addicted patients were more successful and less likely to drop out when they took part in remote programs. About two-thirds beat their addiction using telemedicine. Just 43 to 52% had success with in-person alternatives, Psychology Today reveals.

Remote Treatment Fills In Important Gaps

Finally, remote detox doctors and addiction treatment counselors are necessary during COVID, but they have a place in society after the pandemic, too. Obstacles like childcare, transportation, and taking time off work stop a surprising number of individuals from getting treatment. Shame can also get in the way. For those struggling with shame, in particular, the relative anonymity of talking on the phone can be a relief and surprising motivating factor.

Others fail to attend in-person appointments and meetings because they require complete sobriety. Telehealth affords patients the unique opportunity to be sober curious. They are able to test out the benefits of treatment without necessarily quitting cold turkey. Those struggling to quit cold turkey may benefit from medically assisted detoxification as well. Contact a remote detox doctor for more information!

Telehealth is unlikely to take a backseat once the coronavirus pandemic is over. Talk to a professional today about whether remote detox and/or remote addiction treatment is right for you.

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