Professor Larry Herman, DMSc, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to review the effectiveness of telemedicine implementation to decrease mortality rates for the opioid use disorder population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Method: A PubMed literature search was performed with search terms opioid use disorder, COVID-19, mortality, and telemedicine. Search criteria used to filter results included the English language, between the years 2016-2021, and full-text availability. Twenty-six pertinent articles served as the foundation for this clinical review.
Results: An overall benefit to increase access to care during the pandemic as well as other benefits, but a lack of evidence-based research to show the correlation between telemedicine and decreased mortality rate for individuals with opioid use disorder.
Conclusion: Opioid use disorder patients benefited from telemedicine implementation during the pandemic. Although there are barriers to telemedicine, it remained an effective method to deliver medical care during the pandemic. The expansion of telemedicine paved a new way to ensure treatment adherence was possible for opioid use disorder patients. Yet, there is still not enough evidence-based research to show statistics of an effect on mortality rate in these patients as a direct result of telemedicine. Continued research and data collection are needed to prove the effectiveness of telemedicine on mortality rates in these patients.
Alhamed SY. An Epidemic During the Pandemic: Telemedicine for Opioid Use Disorder During COVID-19. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(2).
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