Uses of Telehealth to Support Identification and Treatment of Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System
Keywords:Criminal Justice, mHealth, Remote Monitoring, Telehealth, Telemedicine
Telehealth, the interactive, electronic exchange of information for diagnosis, treatment, support, or care management, is a critical component of many systems of care.1 The variety of telehealth uses, technologies, and approaches, when implemented successfully, can improve access to care and overcome typical geographic and workforce barriers.1 The opioid epidemic and recent social distancing requirements due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have prompted public safety, behavioral health, and other community partners to explore how telehealth can be used for identification and treatment of disorders in the criminal justice system.
Telehealth offers an innovative strategy for intervention and treatment within the criminal justice system, which is greatly needed given the prevalence of justice-involved populations affected by opioid-use disorder. For one, it is costly to provide treatment and care to people who are incarcerated, and telehealth can help reduce that cost.2 Using telehealth to connect these people to providers can also help avoid resource-heavy and potentially dangerous transfers to care settings. In addition, a telehealth strategy can minimize the burden associated with recruiting and retaining healthcare providers on site, particularly behavioral health providers, who are often in short supply.
Offering options virtually is one way to ameliorate organizational challenges. Services that can be provided via telehealth include inpatient and outpatient medical services, behavioral health, physical and occupational therapy, disaster management, health education,1 and coordination of care support for inmates, providers, and officials. Telehealth can also be used to facilitate release of inmates by connecting people who are in prison or jail with community-based services before release.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Saira Naim Haque
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