Majority of physicians favor continuing telehealth for opioid use disorder, Yale study finds 

Seventy-percent of physicians in a Yale survey said they would be likely to use telehealth to treat opioid use disorder patients after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published Sept. 13 in The American Journal of Managed Care, polled more than 1,100 physicians during July 2020 who were using telehealth services to treat opioid use disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Recent exposure to telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic has promoted the perspective among the physicians surveyed that it is a viable and effective treatment option for patients," Tamara Beetham, a PhD student in health policy and management at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., said in an Oct. 13 news release. "Findings like these could have major implications for the future of telehealth regulation. Continued flexibility would allow more individuals to access life-saving treatment." 

Three key findings: 

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents used telehealth for the first time during the pandemic.

  • Fifty-four percent of respondents found telehealth to be more effective than expected.

  • Eighty-five percent of respondents were in favor of the temporary telehealth flexibility being permanently extended.

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