During the pandemic, many addiction treatment providers switched from in-person treatment to telehealth care. Researchers reviewing studies comparing these two approaches say the potential benefits of telehealth are still unclear, HealthDay reports.
The researchers reviewed eight published studies comparing telehealth and in-person addiction treatment. Seven studies found telehealth treatment was as effective, but not more effective, than in-person treatment in terms of retention and substance use. One study found that telehealth facilitated methadone prescribing and improved retention. The researchers reported their results in Psychiatric Services.
“Telehealth health may allow patients to more easily begin and stay in addiction treatment, which has been a longstanding challenge,” study author Tami Mark of RTI International said in a news release. “However, research is needed to confirm this benefit. As providers pivot to hybrid telehealth models — offering both telehealth and in-person treatment — they need information to help target telehealth to the most appropriate services and patients.”