Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Social Work

Advisor

Caroline Shanti PhD

Keywords

opioid crisis, opioid use, OUD treatment, telemedicine, rural

Abstract

The ongoing opioid crisis has overwhelmed the traditional opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment resources across America. The treatment resources in rural communities have been especially hard hit as geographic and financial barriers limit service capacity. Telemedicine, or medicine delivered via remote means, has been proposed as a potential solution to the lack of conventional opioid treatment resources in rural Maine. Current legalities in the US prohibit telemedicine being used to prescribe opioid agonist drugs, and insurance reimbursement for telemedicine remains a major barrier. This qualitative content analysis looks at the existing research on telemedicine's treatment efficacy for use with OUD as well as the logistical strengths and challenges inherent in the implementation of telemedicine for rural communities. Peer reviewed academic journal articles from the past five years were selected based on their inclusion of content directly related to remotely delivered OUD treatment. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes in the existing use of telemedicine for OUD treatment delivery. These findings expose the limited data available on telemedicine as an independent OUD treatment modality, but also highlight the strengths of using telemedicine in support of traditional care.

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