Content Reviewed by Jennifer Wheeler, Clinical & Community Outreach for New Life

Several reasons may keep you from seeking, receiving or engaging with in-person treatment during your recovery. Especially with all that we have experienced in the last several years with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that patients have access to virtual treatment options that do not require in-person attendance. This only scratches the surface of the value of online telehealth.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth, or telemedicine, is a general term that covers all the different ways a doctor can provide care through technology rather than an in-person visit. Telehealth has become increasingly popular as it allows individuals to receive the health care they need without leaving their home’s comfort and safety.

Examples of Telehealth

In order to understand the extent of telehealth services, it is important to recognize different examples of what telehealth can offer to you and your loved ones. While every treatment center offers services that are unique to their telehealth program, some common examples of telehealth services include:

  • Virtual visits with a healthcare provider through video chat or a phone call
  • Remote patient monitoring, which allows your healthcare provider to check in on you while you are at home through a remote device such as a heart rate monitor
  • Sending your provider an instant message through your electronic health record (EHR)
  • Watching online educational videos sent by your healthcare provider that teach you how to use medical devices or go about taking prescription medications
  • Receiving reminders about making an appointment for an annual screening or in-person physical
  • Engaging with mutual, virtual aid support groups to help stay on track during your recovery
  • Receiving online psychotherapy
  • Having access to recovery texting interventions, such as cravings helplines, relapse prevention skills support, personalized motivational reminders and automated therapy

The Value of Online Telehealth for Addiction Recovery

Online telehealth has incredible benefits for individuals working to recover from the effects of substance use and addiction. Although it was once limited to only rural or remote communities, it is now increasingly used to expand the reach of healthcare services across the globe to improve access to healthcare in general. Some notable benefits of telehealth for those in addiction recovery include:

  • Convenience for both patients and healthcare providers.
  • Efficiency in producing healthy treatment outcomes.
  • Greater communication between patients and healthcare providers.
  • Greater privacy for patients as they receive treatment.
  • Comfortable treatment options for patients receiving care.
  • Ensure that a patient can receive treatment regardless of location.
  • Virtual visits shorten wait times for appointments.
  • Virtual visits provide greater access to healthcare specialists that may live far away from a patient’s hometown.

Potential Barriers of Telehealth Services to Consider

Although telehealth services provide many benefits, like any treatment option, there are always potential barriers to treatment that one should consider. Telehealth may be the most effective when it is used on a short-term basis because:

  • Telehealth may limit a healthcare provider’s ability to perform comprehensive examinations and assessments, leading to misdiagnoses and data inaccuracy.
  • Telehealth may be unable to provide prescription medications and other resources necessary for a patient’s healing process due to a lack of in-person provider-patient relationships. This is because criteria for prescribing medications and conducting accurate evaluations differ from state to state, with some requiring face-to-face evaluations before proper diagnoses can be made.
  • Telehealth may be unable to provide the extent of social support necessary to ensure that an individual stays on track during treatment and recovery. Although online telehealth offers social support, it may not provide the same quality of support that one may receive from face-to-face support groups.

Will Telehealth Help My Recovery?

If you find yourself questioning whether telehealth can aid your recovery journey, the answer is likely yes. However, you may want to consider why you are interested in telehealth services to understand whether or not these services will benefit your treatment and recovery journey.

For example, if you need to continue social distancing due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services are a great option to help you stay on track during your recovery.

On the other hand, if you want to use these services to avoid in-person treatment, you may want to evaluate the pros and cons of doing so. For example, telehealth services may cause you to miss out on opportunities to expand your sober social support system through face-to-face contact. Similarly, telehealth services may not be the best option for you if your mind tends to wander during online meetings or online interventions.

There is no question that telehealth services are an excellent treatment option. However, you must evaluate your treatment needs and goals before recognizing whether or not telehealth will be the best treatment option for you.

New Life Addiction Counseling & Mental Health Services offers telehealth services as a part of our treatment program. We recognize that face-to-face treatment is not always doable, which is why we developed our telehealth treatment program. Our services can help you stay on track during your treatment and long-term recovery through online treatment interventions, access to online support groups and quicker communication with your healthcare providers. Call us today at (877) 929-2571.