There were many things that came out of the recent global COVID-19 pandemic — bad and good. Squarely in the bad news category was the significant increase in people who misused drugs and alcohol. During the first year of the pandemic, there were 99,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, which represents a nearly 30% increase from the year before.
The silver lining of the pandemic was the increase in telehealth services — use of telehealth increased 38 times from pre pandemic levels.
We want to focus on the good news, especially since our team offers comprehensive telehealth services here at Northshore Health. Using digital technology, we can meet virtually through video conferencing to ensure that you have access to the care you need for your substance use disorder.
Here’s a look at some of the ways in which telehealth services can help you get clean and sober, and stay that way.
One of the biggest advantages of our telehealth services is that we can continue your care no matter where you are. For example, if you travel frequently, all you need is an internet connection and a digital device. Then we can meet virtually to discuss your treatment progress, monitor your wellness, and provide recovery support to help you stay on track.
If travel isn’t the issue, but leaving the house is challenging because of transportation issues, childcare concerns, or any other issue, our telehealth can come to your home.
If getting to our office isn’t a concern, but time is, here again, telehealth can help. By cutting out travel time, you can incorporate your all-important substance use disorder care into your busy day.
Our goal with telehealth is to eliminate any hurdles that come with in-office visits so we can help you break free from your substance use disorder.
If you’re using a medication-assisted treatment for your substance use disorder, we can monitor your progress remotely. During these virtual visits, we can review any side effects you may be experiencing or any other issues that arise due to your medications.
Emerging research shows that this remote oversight of medication-assisted treatments can be very successful. For example, one study that included 3,733 people in Canada who were prescribed opioid agonist therapy, found that, “Telemedicine patients demonstrated a retention rate of 50% at one year whereas in-person patients were retained at a rate of 39%.”
We believe that the higher success rate stems from the fact that people are better able to keep up with their medication-assisted treatments remotely since there are fewer hurdles to “checking in.”
There are times when you need to see us in person, such as initiating a detox program, determining whether medication-assisted treatment is right for you, and starting that treatment. These critical in-office visits help ease you into recovery from your substance use disorder, at which point you can switch to telehealth for ongoing oversight and medical support.
If you’d like to learn whether you can take advantage of our telehealth services to help with your recovery, please contact our office in Bothell, Washington, to set up a remote consultation.