Home > Telemedicine-delivered treatment interventions for substance use disorders: a systematic review.

Lin, Lewei Allison and Casteel, Danielle and Shigekawa, Erin and Weyrich, Meghan Soulsby and Roby, Dylan H and McMenamin, Sara B (2019) Telemedicine-delivered treatment interventions for substance use disorders: a systematic review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 101, pp. 38-49. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2019.03.007.

External website: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331943000...

With increased negative impacts from opioid and other substance use disorders in the US, it is important for treatments to not only be effective, but also accessible to patients. Treatment delivery via telemedicine, specifically, the use of videoconferencing, which allows real time communication between a patient and a clinician at a distant site, has been shown to be an effective approach for increasing reach and access to treatments for mental health disorders and other chronic illnesses.

This systematic review identified and summarized studies examining the effectiveness of telemedicine interventions to deliver treatment for patients with substance use disorders. Out of 841 manuscripts that met our search criteria, 13 studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies covered interventions for nicotine, alcohol and opioid use disorders. They varied widely in size, quality, and in the comparison groups examined. Studies examined both delivery of psychotherapy and medication treatments. Most studies suggested telemedicine interventions were associated with high patient satisfaction and are an effective alternative, especially when access to treatment is otherwise limited. However, there were substantial methodological limitations to the research conducted to date. Further studies are needed, including larger scale randomized studies that examine different models of telemedicine that can be integrated into existing healthcare delivery settings, to increase the use of effective treatments for patients with substance use disorders.

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