Trends in Telemedicine Use for Addiction Treatment
Methods: A project conducted from February 2013 to June 2014 investigated the adoption of telemedicine services among purchasers of addiction treatment in five states and one county. The project assessed purchasers’ interest in and perceived facilitators and barriers to implementing one or more of the following telemedicine modalities: telephone-based care, web-based screening, web-based treatment, videoconferencing, smartphone mobile applications (apps), and virtual worlds.
Results: Purchasers expressed the most interest in implementing videoconferencing and smartphone mobile devices. Anticipated facilitators for implementing a telemedicine app included funding available to pay for the telemedicine service, local examples of success, influential champions at the payer and treatment agencies, and meeting a pressing need. Greatest barriers identified were costs associated with implementation, lack of reimbursement for telemedicine services, providers’ unfamiliarity with technology, lack of implementation models, and confidentiality regulations.
Conclusions: Despite the considerable interest in telemedicine, implementation challenges exist. Future studies should broaden the sample analyzed and track technology implementation longitudinally to help the research and practitioner communities develop a greater understanding of technology implementation trends and practices.
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