At Workit Health, we’ve experienced an increase in new patients this past year, in part because telemedicine is the only option people are comfortable with, and in part because people are stuck at home and using or drinking more than they previously were. Many states have eliminated restrictions on telemedicine to better comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19, making it easier than ever to get started with addiction care. The growth of telemedicine has boosted access to addiction care for many patients. We have identified that certain types of addiction care are more successful when administered through telemedicine, especially for patients facing social determinants of health or other conditions that limit their ability to travel.
Frontline workers are also among those needing addiction care and it is unfortunately stigmatized, especially for healthcare clinicians. Telemedicine offers a new front door to harm reduction that was previously unavailable. Receiving care privately through telemedicine can reduce fear of negative social or professional impacts. This change in perspective is a necessary first step in supporting frontline workers with addiction care needs.