Telehealth Plays Key Role in Addiction Treatment During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Telehealth technology is becoming an important part of addiction treatment during the coronavirus pandemic, PBS News reports. A growing number of addiction treatment providers are using videoconferencing, texting and mobile apps.

    Hazelden Betty Ford has accelerated the rollout of its virtual care program, according to President and CEO Mark Mishek. The program is officially launching this week.

    “We want to make sure people get the care. It’s scary out there right now,” he said. “You’re going to have patients unwilling to come into a brick and mortar facility and we need to get them into virtual care as soon as possible.”

    Telehealth treatment for addiction has benefits beyond physical distancing during a pandemic, according to Lori Uscher-Pines, a Senior Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. She noted some patients don’t want to be seen parked outside of a treatment center, or don’t want to be part of a therapy session that might include people they know. “It’s hard to be anonymous, especially in a small town,” she said. “So being able to seek treatment from your home offers increased privacy for some people.”

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