U of Alabama launches telehealth network to combat opioid addiction

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded a $200,000 grant to University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to develop a telehealth network for opioid abuse patients. 

The network is geared toward improving prevention, treatment and recovery of substance use disorder and opioid use disorder by employing a "whole-person care" model, which is a concept that coordinates physical health, behavioral health and social services to enhance care outcomes. It will be offered to patients who reside in four Alabama-based counties.

"Unfortunately, while there's a really high risk of opioid-related mortality or morbidity in these counties, there are almost no facilities or programs specifically for opioid problems," said Hee Yun Lee, MD, principal investigator and UA professor of social work, according to the news release. "In this grant, we will identify the gaps and urgent needs of services or policies we must establish."

University of Alabama is partnering with local community organizations and Project Echo, a telecommunications-teaching model, on the network. Project Echo's technology will allow clinicians from the community-based organizations to connect with UA providers and researchers through audio and visual technology to discuss patient cases and establish treatment plans.

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